International Disability Rights
The Special Advisor for International Disability Rights (SADR) leads the U.S. comprehensive strategy to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities internationally. The United States, as part of our foreign policy, works to remove barriers and create a world in which disabled people enjoy dignity and full inclusion. Discrimination against people with disabilities is not simply unjust; it hinders economic development, limits democracy, and erodes societies.
In pursuing diplomacy that is inclusive and empowering of persons with disabilities, the United States:
- opposes discrimination against persons with disabilities everywhere and in all its forms;
- urges foreign governments to combat discrimination, prejudice and abuse against persons with disabilities in their countries, and to protect the rights and ensure the dignity and inclusion of all persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others;
- encourages and assists governments to learn about the development and effective implementation of laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities;
- encourages and assists civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities and their families, to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities; and
- encourages U.S. businesses operating overseas as well as domestic host country businesses to take into consideration persons with disabilities in relation to employment practices and local stakeholder engagement, including in their labor and human rights corporate social responsibility policies, programs, and practices.
The position of Special Advisor for International Disability Rights was created following U.S. signature of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Disabilities Treaty) and resides in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL). As the senior-level disability human rights position at the State Department, the Special Advisor leads on disability human rights issues across the Department.
The Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann, also coordinates the interagency process for the ratification of the Disabilities Treaty; ensures that foreign assistance incorporates persons with disabilities; leads on disability human rights issues; ensures that the needs of persons with disabilities are addressed in international emergency situations; and conducts public diplomacy, including with civil society, on disability issues.