Explore the globaldisability rights movement


August 10-17, 1924

The first International Silent Games

The International Silent Games has become the first ever international competition for athlete with disabilities. 149 representatives from nine European countries participated in a competition that took place in Paris, France. These games are also marked as a foundation for the formation of the Deaflympics, international, elite competition for deaf athletes.


July 29,1948

The Stoke Mandeville Games

The Stoke Mandeville Games were organized by neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann during the 1948 Olympic Games in London. The competition was named after the nearby hospital and included 16 veterans on wheelchairs. The event has become a milestone as it lead to the foundation for the Paralympic Games.


September 18-25, 1960

The first Paralympic Games

The first Paralympic Games took place in Rome, Italy September 18-25, 1960 and included 400 athletes from 23 countries.

July 20, 1968

The first Special Olympics World Games

The first Special Olympics World Games for people with intellectual disabilities unified 1,000 athletes from the United States and Canada in Chicago in 1968. Today the movement is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and brings together people from 170 countries.


Disablity Rights Movement

The disability rights movement gained momentum when a growing number of veterans returned from 20th century wars disabled and when other civil rights movements around the world gained strength.


May 29, 1970

The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act in the UK

On May 29, 1970, the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act in the United Kingdom became the first national document to recognize the rights of persons with disabilities.

September 26, 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in the US

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was one of the first federal civil rights laws in the US that prohibited discrimination based on disability. It covered programs receiving federal financial assistance. However, failure to enforce early versions of the legislation due to the veto of President Richard Nixon led to protests, specifically including the “504 Sit-In” when activists with disabilities occupied federal buildings. Section 504 provided a strong foundation for what would become the Americans with Disabilities Act.

November 21, 1978

UNESCO The International Charter of Physical Education and Sport

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared that access to physical education and sport is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed for all human beings.



International Year of Disabled Persons

The United Nations named 1981 “International Year of Disabled Persons” and called attention to the need for “full participation and equality” of persons with disabilities.


March 12, 1990

The “Capitol Crawl” in Washington D.C.

On March 12, 1990, disability rights activists in the U.S. set aside their assistive devices and climbed the steps of the Capitol building during the “Capitol Crawl” protest.

July 26, 1990

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

On July 26, 1990, U.S. President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.


May 22, 2001

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) of the World Health Organisation

The ICF serves as a framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels. The classification defines functioning and disability in a context and as a universal human experience.

June 4-6, 2001

The International Seminar on Measurement of Disability

The International Seminar on Measurement of Disability addressed the need for common international standards of measurement the disability. It was held by the UN, European Communities, and the US in New York in 2011. The event resulted in a formation of The Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) that serves as a United Nations Statistical Commission City Group, and today includes more than 135 countries and organizations.

December 2001

Discussion on the treaty for persons with disabilities started in the UN

Mexico addressed the United Nations General Assembly with a proposal to develop a treaty to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities worldwide.

December 13, 2006

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

On December 13, 2006, the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote, protect, and ensure all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people with disabilities.

September 25, 2008

ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)

The ADA Amendments Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush to broaden the definition of disability.


May 5, 2010

The Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG)

The Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group was established under the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) to promote the power of Sport for Development and Peace and harness the potential of sport.

November 3-18, 2015

UNESCO Revised International Charter of Physical Education and Sport

The revised Charter addresses gender equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion through sport. It also includes explicit information on the benefits of physical activity, inclusion of persons with disabilities, and the protection of children in and through sport.