The Sri Lanka Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled says that despite laws and regulations in place, differently-abled persons continue to face major issues with regard to gaining accessibility and procuring transportation.
President of the Foundation, Cyril Siriwardena, also wheelchair bound, called for the expansion of the categories of persons who are defined as differently abled which at present include only the physically disabled, the blind, deaf and intellectually disabled.
The laws in place include the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, No. 28 of 1996 and Amendments to the said Act. Regulations include the Disabled Persons (Accessibility) Regulations, No. 01 of 2006.
The laws are not being implemented, he noted while adding that there was a lack of awareness about the matter at all levels, a fact which also exacerbated the situation.
“Building owners, planners, architects, engineers and construction contractors must be made aware”, said Siriwardena.
It is against the law to construct anything without providing accessibility for the handicapped.