In 2017, then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson eliminated the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, a position established under the Obama Administration and held by long-time disability activist, Judith Heumann. USICD is asking the US disability community and our allies to respond by communicating with US Senators.
USICD wrote to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, twice in 2017 in which no cknowledgement or response was received.
We sent a similiar letter to Secretary Pompeo in 2018. In these letters, USICD asked the Secretary to propose to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) legislation making the U.S. Special Advisor for International Disability Rights in the Department of State a permanent entity with authorization for sufficient standing (e.g. ambassadorship for the director), staff, and funding to be effective. This action is crucial for enabling the US State Department to more effectively respond to global disability rights issues around the world.
Instead, Secretary Tillerson chose to eliminate the position entirely and proposes relegating the current disability mission under the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL). We urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) support the establishment of the Office of International Disability Rights and to appoint a Disability Advisor at USAID. Additonal background information:
We Need Your Help!!
Please write to Secretary Pompeo and ask please ask him to do the following:
1. Establish the U.S. Special Advisor for International Disability Rights in the Department of State a permanent entity with authorization for sufficient standing (e.g. ambassadorship for the director), staff, and funding.
2. When Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Pompeo both failed to respond to USICD’s letter, it showed a clear disregard for the disability community in the United States and the discrimination and isolation faced by over one billion persons with disabilities worldwide. Tell Secretary Pompeo that in the letter!
3. Secretary Pompeo must meet with the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and hear from people with disabilities about the important role the Special Advisor has in the global disability rights movement.
Want to do more? Read How to Contact Senators to Defend Global Disability Rights!