Claims EU, US accessibility rules are falling off the agenda

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Tuesday, 10 June 2014 09:30am

Warnings have been issued that requirements to make websites accessible in Europe and the US are falling behind schedule.

In Europe, the European Blind Union (EBU) has issued a warning that the European Commission’s pledge — Directive 2004/18/EC — to make all public websites and websites providing basic services to citizens accessible by 2015 is slipping behind schedule.

The EBU claims that EU Ministers have not held any meaningful discussions on the directive since June 2013.

As a result of the delay the EBU has issued recommendations to Council Members (Word, 469 KB) setting out concrete steps for upholding the right to access information set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), ratified by the EU and the vast majority of Member States.

In the US, disability rights legal advocate Lainey Feingold has drawn attention to a decision by the United States Department of Justice to delay its website accessibility rules. The rules address technical standards and obligations of state and local government agencies and public accommodations (private entities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act) to make websites accessible to people with disabilities.

According to Feingold, the web regulations have been pending since 26 July 2010.

“Saying that the DOJ ‘announced’ its most recent delay is an overstatement,” Feingold wrote in a blog post. “’Whispered’ might be a better word. The news was buried in what is called a Unified Agenda. Federal agencies are supposed to regularly update the public about pending regulations.“

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