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International Accessibility Law Repository

Posted May 24, 2024


Posted May 24, 2024

Flat map of the world with a shied and legal scale on top
Flat map of the world with a shied and legal scale on top

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The following list depicts some of the web accessibility laws that have been enacted around the world. While some accessibility laws are more progressive than others, and enforcement varies by location, more laws are leveraging the international standard, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, to measure accessibility.

Eleanor Roosevelt is pictured holding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish, a highly influential document that she helped create.

Photo Credit: Bill of Rights Institute – 1947

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet, they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Eleanor Roosevelt on the 10th Anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights speech titled “In Our Hands” (1958)

Regardless of their abilities or demographics, everyone deserves equal access to the internet. Yet, much of the web remains inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. Too many digital accessibility barriers hinder the disabled community from using or accessing online content.

Removing these barriers is a key driver behind many worldwide digital accessibility laws. While each law varies from country to country, they are all designed to enhance accessibility and make digital content more accessible to users of all abilities.

While by no means comprehensive, the list of international accessibility laws listed below shows the efforts countries worldwide are undergoing to improve the accessibility of websites and other digital content.

Children gathered around The Universal Declaration of Human Rights document

United Nations Accessibility Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

During the December 1948 United Nations General Assembly in Paris, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was proclaimed. The United Nations (UN) set out to have human rights universally protected by having a diverse background of representatives draft the UDHR. Each of the 30 articles proclaims the UN’s declaration that the rights of human beings should be fought for and protected throughout nations.

Each member state of the UN has signed an agreement with the UDHR. Each member state agrees that every person is born equally and with freedom, entitling them to the rights of the declaration without any thought to differences such as race, language, religion, or any other status. The act also states that no person shall be subjected to slavery, inhumane treatment or punishment, arbitrary actions, or interference. 

Put simply; the act declares that all persons have the right to life and liberty, equality in the face of the law, freedom of movement within borders, and the right to seek asylum elsewhere, nationality, marriage and family, to own property, receive an education, employment, standard of living, and participation in community and society.

UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The United Nations created the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) because the UDHR should protect everyone equally. In practice, however, this was not the case. People with disabilities encountered obstacles in receiving education, employment, information and services, and proper health care. The General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 to ratify the problems encountered. 

Regarding digital accessibility, the CRPD recognizes the importance of ensuring individuals with disabilities have equal access to digital content. Article 9 of the CRPD specifically addresses accessibility, stating that countries must take appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities have equal access to information and communication technology (ICT), including the internet.

The CRPD includes several measures, such as ensuring websites and mobile applications are accessible to people with various disabilities, including those who are blind, deaf, or have mobility impairments. Additionally, the CRPD makes electronic documents, multimedia content, and digital services accessible through features like screen readers, closed captioning, and alternative input methods.

United States Accessibility Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA is a Civil Rights law enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination based on disability. Title II and Title III of the ADA have become more prevalent in the growing shift to providing more accessible services and information on the web. All organizations—regardless of their industry—are required to comply with the ADA.

Title II of the ADA prohibits disability discrimination by state and local governments regardless of whether they receive funding from the federal government. Municipalities must give equal access to people with disabilities through their services, programs, and activities. This includes schools and universities. 

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination in privately owned and operated places of public accommodation. Recent lawsuits and court rulings by the Department of Justice (DOJ) have stated that websites or online spaces are considered places of public accommodation, meaning they must be accessible.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits disability discrimination in federally run programs, programs that receive financial assistance from federal agencies or the federal government, and federal employment practices. It was the first act in the United States that protected the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects the civil rights of people with disabilities from being excluded, denied benefits, or discriminated against. It applies to programs that receive financial assistance from the federal government or as part of an Executive Agency.

In 1986, the act was amended to include Section 508. The amendment required the federal government to provide accessible electronic and information technology for employees and the public with disabilities. This Procurement Law includes electronic and information technology procured, developed, or maintained by the federal government.

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

The CVAA was enacted to enforce the FCC Closed Captioning Rules and bring 80s and 90s accessibility laws up-to-date with modern technologies. 

Title I of the CVAA outlines the requirements for accessible communication services and products, including websites and mobile apps and browsers for people with disabilities. Title II outlines the requirements for video programming for people with disabilities. 

Under the CVAA, organizations must provide closed captioning for video programming, implement audio and video descriptions for video content, ensure assistive technology compatibility, make emergency information accessible, and more.

Air Carrier Access Act

In November 2014, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented new changes to the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The ACAA prohibits airline discrimination based on disability. In its commitment to making flying easier and more accessible to people with disabilities, the Department of Transportation requires airlines to make their automated kiosks and websites fully accessible. To enforce this, the ACAA requires airlines to follow WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards to enforce this.

Affordable Care Act - Meaningful Access Rule

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implemented a Meaningful Access Rule. The Meaningful Access Rule Applies to ACA’s Section 1557’s non-discrimination policies. Under this section, healthcare providers receiving federal government funding cannot discriminate against any individual based on race, color, nationality, sex, age, or disability. For individuals with disabilities, healthcare providers must provide accessibility features on their websites, such as increasing font size, transferring text to a braille reader, text-to-speech capabilities, and more.

International Accessibility Laws


Law No. 26,653

Also called Argentina’s Comprehensive Protection System for Persons with Disabilities, the act promotes inclusivity, accessibility, and equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Argentina. The law was designed to facilitate their full inclusion, participation, and equal opportunities. For example, the act requires individuals with disabilities to be granted equal access to ICT and digital resources, public spaces, buildings, and transportation services.


Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

The DDA 1992 prohibits direct and indirect disability discrimination in employment, education, sports, provisions, laws, and programs. The DDA aims to promote and enforce the provision of equal rights to people with disabilities in their communities. 

Broadcasting Services Act

The Australian Broadcasting Services Act was enacted in 1992 to promote, provide, and ensure audiences can access broadcasting services. The act also requires broadcasters to meet the needs of disabled users by following accessibility regulations. For example, the Australian Parliament amended the Broadcasting Services Act and established that TV programming must provide closed captioning during specific broadcast times. This ensures that individuals with hearing disabilities or impairments can watch broadcasts.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

The ACMA was established in 2005 to oversee and regulate communications and media services in Australia. The act ensures that telecommunication providers comply with laws and standards, including accessibility standards. It also ensures that communications and media services operate effectively, responsibly, and in the public interest while promoting innovation and competition within the sector.

Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy

The Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy strives to establish a universal design for accessibility and reinforce the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. All government-owned and operated information and services must be accessible by conforming with WCAG 2.0. This includes federal, state, and local territories in Australia.


Canadian Human Rights Act

Enacted in 1977, the Canadian Human Rights Act made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of “race, national or ethnic origin, colour [sic], religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, and disability…” Additionally, the act prohibits discrimination in the provision of foods, services, facilities, or accommodation in the workplace or in employment applications and advertisements.

Government of Canada Web Standards

The Government of Canada Web Standards took effect in 2011 to replace the Government of Canada Common Look and Feel Standards of 2001. After being updated in 2013, the Web Standards require government websites to be accessible to people with disabilities. This means conforming with the accessibility guidelines included in WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

As one of the world's more progressive Civil Rights Laws, the AODA was enacted in 2005 and later amended in 2016 to create a barrier-free society by 2025. Under the AODA, public sector organizations, large private sector, and non-profit organizations with more than 50 employees in Ontario are to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. This requires conforming with WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines.

European Union

Mandate 376

Mandate 376 was established to standardize accessibility. European Union members are required to have accessible public procurement of ICT products and services. Examples of products and services include websites, digital services, computers, and emails. The mandate was established to ensure products and services are free of accessibility barriers and usable by all. To be considered accessible, the Mandate 376 Procurement Law outlines that websites must conform with WCAG 2.0.

Standard - EN 301 549

EN 301 549 outlines the specific accessibility requirements for public procurement of European ICT products and services. All public sector websites within Europe are required to meet EN 301 549 standards as of September 23, 2020. To be considered compliant with the law, organizations must conform with WCAG 2.1 Level AA. However, it’s important to note that EN 301 549 extends beyond WCAG and covers biometrics. This standard requires people with disabilities to have equal access to technology that scans biological data, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, etc.


Law N° 2005-102 

Law N° 2005-102 outlines equal opportunities and participation for people with disabilities in France. Under Article 47, the Référentiel Général d’Accessibilité pour les Administrations (RGAA) requires all French government and public websites to comply with web accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 Level AA). In 2015, the RGAA 3 was updated from the RGAA 2.2 to integrate new technologies, such as HTML and ARIA.


Federal Disabled Equalization Law (BGG)

Agencies within the German federal administration that have an internet presence or public-access internet presence and use information technology accessed by the public are subject to the Federal Disabled Equalization Law. The German accessibility law stems from the Disability Discrimination Act, which requires information technology to be barrier-free.

Berlin Barrier-Free Information Technology Ordinance (BITV)

Called the Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung in German, the BITV ensures individuals can easily access, understand, and operate digital devices or content, including websites, mobile applications, and more. The first version was based on WCAG 2.0 but has since expanded to include WCAG POUR principles. BITV 2.0 also requires websites to have an accessibility statement or declaration in a machine-readable format on their homepage and subsequent website pages.

Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz (BFSG)

The Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz translates as the Accessibility Strengthening Act and enforces the BITV and BGG. The act ensures that all German organizations meet accessibility standards before June 2025. Those who fail to comply with BITV and BGG standards by then will face fines and penalties of up to €100,000.


Indian Web Accessibility Guidelines

The National Portal of India project developed an initiative to produce guidelines for Indian government websites. The Guidelines for Indian Websites were released in 2009 and added to the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedures (CSMOP). Under these guidelines, Indian websites must conform with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.


Disability Act 2005

The Republic of Ireland established the Act to assess the needs, services, and employment opportunities of people with disabilities. Under the Act, the National Disability Authority and The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design were established. Both acts aim to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Code of Practice on Accessibility of Public Services and Information Provided by Public Bodies 

The National Disability Authority (NDA) is an independent statutory board that advises the government and private sector on disability policies and procedures while promoting Universal Design. The NDA prepares the Code of Practice on Accessibility of Public Services and Information Provided by Public Equality and Law Reform. For websites to be compliant, they must not contain barriers for people with disabilities. The NDA requires websites to conform to accessibility laws by following the standards outlined in WCAG 2.0 Level AA.


Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Enacted in 1998, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) passed the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law. Under the law, people with disabilities have equal rights and protection in all aspects of society — from employment to housing. The act was created to ensure maximum inclusion of people with disabilities.

The Equal Rights for People with Disabilities (Service Accessibility Adjustments) Regulations 5773-2013

The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee amended the Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities Section 35, the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Regulations 5773-2013. The regulation, which was enacted in 2013, governs website accessibility. These regulations apply to government and municipality agencies, public entities, and services offered to the general public.

Under this law, websites must be accessible to people with disabilities and free of accessibility barriers. Organizations must follow Standard 5568, which outlines that websites must follow WCAG guidelines.


Law 4/2004 - “Stanca Law”

Under the Stanca Law, government agencies must provide accessible technology if they provide information to the public. Under Decree No. 75, websites must be free of accessibility barriers and follow the Ministerial Decree issues that websites must follow WCAG Level AA to be compliant.


The Act on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities

In 2013, the Japanese equivalent to a Parliament passed a Civil Rights Law, the Act on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities, to ban discrimination against the disabled community. The act also requires organizations to provide reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. 

Japanese Industrial Standards

Established in 2004 and updated in 2016, the Web Content Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) provide organizations with standards for web accessibility. Many of the guidelines included in JIS are based on WCAG 2.0.

New Zealand

Human Rights Amendment Act

The Human Rights Act was established in 1993 to ensure equality and fair treatment for all people in New Zealand. The Act and its Commission protect people from unlawful discrimination. In 2001, the Human Rights Amendment Act made changes to the Human Rights Act to continue ensuring equality. 

Web Accessibility Standards

Effective 2013, the New Zealand Web Accessibility Standards require government websites to conform to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards. The Standards also apply to government websites that are available to the public, focusing on websites accessed by people not employed by the New Zealand government and websites that use logins for authentication.


Law 51/2003 - “LIONDAU”

Spain’s Constitution, Law 51, was enacted in December 2003 to ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against and are given equal opportunities in “political, economic, and social life.” The Spanish government must not discriminate and must have accessible technologies and services related to societal information and social media. 

The web accessibility standard (UNE 139803) was established in 2004 to outline the requirements for Law 51. The Spanish standards organization AENOR based the requirements on WCAG guidelines.

United Kingdom

Equality Act

The UK’s Equality Act was established in 2010 to protect people from employment and social discrimination. The Civil Rights Law protects against all aspects—from age to disability. Regarding disability, organizations and service providers are required to make reasonable accommodations to their workplaces to remove accessibility barriers in both physical and online spaces.

British Standard 8878

British Standard 8878, titled “Web Accessibility—Code of Practice,” was developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and provides guidance on making websites more accessible to people with disabilities. The standard outlines a comprehensive approach to web accessibility, emphasizing the importance of designing and developing websites to be usable by as many people as possible. 

Communications Act and OFCOM Regulations

The UK Communications Act was passed in 2003 and governs various aspects of the communication industry, including broadcasting, telecommunications, and radio spectrum usage. The act replaced earlier legislation and aimed to modernize and streamline regulations in the communications sector. The act includes broadcasting and telecommunications regulations, spectrum management, and consumer protection.

The Office of Communication (OFCOM) enforces regulations, including broadcasting content standards, spectrum allocation, telecom infrastructure, and competition among service providers.

Get One Step Closer to Compliance with AudioEye

No matter where you’re located, the focus on digital accessibility is only increasing, with more laws and regulations around accessibility likely already on the horizon. To avoid paying hefty fines, penalties, legal consequences, and damage to your reputation, you must meet accessibility laws now. 

That’s where AudioEye comes in.

Our Automated Accessibility Platform can find and fix common accessibility issues on your digital content that leave you at risk for accessibility lawsuits. AudioEye’s automated software automatically applies fixes for common problems while our team of human experts evaluates your content for more complex accessibility issues. Once our software and team of experts have applied custom fixes to your digital content, you’re one step closer to an accessible, compliant site.

Ready to get started? Use the free accessibility scanner below to get an idea of how accessible your existing content is.


This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Though provided in good faith that the information is accurate at publication, such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended and must not be taken as legal advice on particular facts or circumstances. Please contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues.

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