Statement on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

12/03/2019 08:10 AM EST

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Disability rights are at the heart of American values of human dignity and freedom. Today, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we recommit ourselves to upholding the rights, dignity, and inclusion of persons with disabilities at home and around the world.

As a nation, we recognize the rights and abilities of all people.  Nearly 30 years ago, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark civil rights law that addressed access and inclusion for persons with disabilities. U.S. laws set the gold standard when it comes to ensuring equal access to facilities, transportation, housing, education, employment, and information and communication technologies.  The United States remains a global leader in research that will lead to new technologies, medicine, and other advancements that improve livelihoods and independent living for all.

We also recognize the creativity and skill that individuals with disabilities bring to our workforce, including veterans with disabilities who served our country with courage and distinction.  Public and private employers benefit from these skills and talents, boosting their bottom lines while providing meaningful employment and delivering living wages.

The U.S. government remains firmly committed to upholding the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of the more than one billion people living with disabilities worldwide.  We want all people – including persons with disabilities – to have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to pursue their aspirations, develop their capabilities, compete, and succeed in the 21st century.