In commemoration today’s anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are sharing Current History‘s recent virtual issue on disability rights.
People with disabilities comprise the world’s largest minority, at roughly 15 percent of the global population. Most people will experience some kind of disability at some point in their lives. But until recently, there were few formal protections for the rights of the disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 marked the beginning of a new era for disability rights, setting a legislative template for other nations to follow. In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, setting new global standards. To what extent have these milestones really had impact on the ground and affected everyday life over this period? To find out, Current History commissioned a series of essays looking into how disability rights and realities have evolved in each part of the world. The articles collected in this virtual issue first appeared in the journal in 2021–22.