Addis Ababa, July 28, 2023 – In celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), held an event to share the U.S. experience in developing the ADA and to discuss Ethiopia’s draft comprehensive disability proclamation, which is Ethiopia’s first effort to effectively address the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
The program featured Executive Director of the United States Access Board, Dr. Sachin Dev Pavithran, who joined virtually to talk about the ADA and other issues related to PWD in the United States. Dr. Pavithran responded to questions about the challenges of persons with disabilities, civil and human rights issues, and the importance of inclusion raised by participants. Members of the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR), senior members of the EHRC, civil society representatives, rights advocates, and representatives from organizations of persons with disabilities were present to share their views and concerns. Representatives from the Ministry of Women and Labor, who are working on the draft comprehensive disability proclamation, attended to learn more about the process, challenges, and impact of the ADA in the United States and to listen to stakeholders.
The ADA prohibits discrimination based on a person’s abilities or disabilities. Counselor for Public Affairs Ruth Anne Stevens-Klitz said disability rights are human rights and noted, “The rights of persons with disabilities is an unambiguous area of shared interest and near universal agreement between the U.S. and Ethiopia. I am proud to share with you that the U.S. Embassy is now, more than ever, an ADA-compliant building, equipped with wheelchair access ramps, modern elevators, accessible restrooms, and braille signs throughout the building.”
A pop-up market, featuring a diverse range of products, including leather, handicrafts, and carpets, provided an opportunity for PWD to display their creativity and skills, while raising awareness and appreciation for their abilities and promoting inclusivity and empowerment for PWDs.
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has established a Diversity, Equity Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Council to promote such values and standards by developing and implementing a range of programs, practices, and systems to improve and increase diversity; to focus on principles of inclusion; and to create an equitable and accessible workplace.