On 31st Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

The inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society is a U.S. foreign policy priority. Disability rights are human rights. And today, July 26, the United States celebrates the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for persons with disabilities.

The ADA has inspired the world to see disability through the lens of rights and equity and expanded opportunities for persons with disabilities to contribute to our global progress. This landmark U.S. law sparked a global shift of perspectives from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity to viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are active, contributing members of society capable of exercising those rights.

The United States is committed to promoting disability rights at home and abroad. Last month, President Biden issued Executive Order 14035 establishing that it is the policy of this Administration to cultivate a federal workforce that draws from the full diversity of the nation, including Americans with disabilities. At the State Department, we strive to be a model of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, where all employees – working domestically and abroad – are treated with dignity and respect.

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