Today marks 29 years since the U.S. Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. In the spirit of that important milestone, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations is working to promote global respect for the human rights and dignity of all persons, including persons with disabilities.
On June 20, 2019, the U.S. co-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 2475 on Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict, the first ever Security Council resolution to address the human rights of persons with disabilities. Adopted unanimously, the resolution offers concrete actions the Council and the international community can take to address the challenges facing persons with disabilities during all stages of conflict.
In that Security Council meeting I noted, “Persons with disabilities are already marginalized in times of peace and that increases drastically in times of armed conflict. It is so important that our actions as an international community reflect the important role people with disabilities can play in conflict prevention, resolution, reconciliation, and reconstruction.”
Standing proud with key US negotiator as U.S. co-sponsors the groundbreaking resolution #UNSCR on Persons with Disabilities in Armed conflict to ensure we leave no one behind. https://t.co/RZZXCuEfvw pic.twitter.com/36MznOqjmi— Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet (@USAmbUNReform) June 21, 2019
I continued, “On this 29th anniversary of the ADA, we recognize the significant progress made since 1990 in addressing the human rights of persons with disabilities and look ahead to the considerable work that remains. Our work in the Security Council should include a regular agenda item on human rights for persons with disabilities and we should tear down the obstacles in the UN system that impede the full participation of persons with disabilities, including members of our own delegation.”
In another measure of progress, the United States took action today to endorse the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, developed in 2016 in advance of the World Humanitarian Summit. The Charter sets forth a global agenda to make humanitarian actions more receptive to the needs of persons with disabilities. Through endorsing the Charter and co-sponsoring Resolution 2475, the United States is reaffirming its commitment to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities around the world.
About the Author: Cherith Norman Chalet is the U.S. Ambassador for UN Management and Reform and Alternative Representative to the General Assembly.