Dutch vote for disabled access in public buildings

elderly person in wheelchairMPs are poised to vote in favour of a UN treaty to ensure public buildings and public institutions are accessible to people with a physical disability, website Nu.nl says on Thursday.

‘This is an historic day for people with disabilities,’ Labour MP Otwin van Dijk told the website. ‘The Netherlands will today become one of the last countries to ratify the treaty. It is about time.’

The two coalition parties were divided over the issue and the health ministry had proposed a compromise in which companies would only have to adapt their premises if there was a formal request.

This did not go far enough for the plan’s supporters. ‘Why should someone with a handicap have to beg to be admitted to a bar, a tram or a shop?’ Van Dijk, who himself uses a wheelchair, said.

The new requirement will be introduced in stages from 2017.

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