Annual Thematic Discussion on Technical Cooperation – Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Human Rights Council 26th Session - Geneva, Switzerland

Annual Thematic Discussion on Technical Cooperation: “Technical cooperation and capacity-building in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities through legal and institutional frameworks, including public-private partnerships”

As Delivered by Rachel Spring

Thank you, Mr. President.

We welcome this panel discussion on “Technical cooperation and capacity-building in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities including public-private partnerships,” and are particularly pleased to have a diverse panel of strong advocates for human rights of persons with disabilities.

Public-private partnerships and a multi-stakeholder approach play an important role in protecting and advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities.

The “nothing about us without us” approach echoed in the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is crucial to mainstreaming disability issues into broader human rights issues.

Disability rights, at the end of the day, are human rights.

In the United States we have a comprehensive legal framework for enforcing the rights of persons with disabilities.

This includes federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, which we passed in 1990, and we believe is a gold standard with respect to how to treat people and how to open up the world for opportunities.

We encourage the international community to look at, study, and, hopefully, emulate this law.

We’d like to give an example of how this translates into practice.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of their employment, including applying for jobs, hiring, firing, and advancement.

The law also requires the employer to provide reasonable accommodation, if requested, to the person seeking employment, as long as it does not impose an “undue hardship.”

Failure to provide reasonable accommodation can constitute discrimination.

U.S. enforcement of disability rights protections in the workplace is carried out by, among others, our Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor.

Thank you.

- Source: U.S. Mission Geneva

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