Text: H.R.3373 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/20/2019)

1st Session
H. R. 3373

To establish the Office of International Disability Rights, and for other purposes.


June 20, 2019

Ms. Titus (for herself and Mr. Young) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


To establish the Office of International Disability Rights, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Office of International Disability Rights Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The United States has shown leadership domestically on disability rights with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and this leadership should be leveraged to support international disability rights.

(2) There are more than one billion persons with disabilities around the world, and 80 percent live in developing countries.

(3) 60 percent of persons with disabilities are women.

(4) Women with disabilities are more likely to experience sexual violence than women without disabilities.

(5) There are more than 90 million children with disabilities worldwide.

(6) Children with disabilities are more likely to be malnourished than children without disabilities.

(7) Persons with disabilities are subject to economic and social marginalization. The World Bank has estimated the Gross Domestic Product loss due to disability to be between $1.71 trillion and $2.23 trillion annually.

(8) The inclusion of persons with disabilities is a fundamental part of democracy and essential to the full realization of human rights.

(9) The political participation and leadership of persons with disabilities, including those who acquired a disability through conflict, is crucial to sustaining democratic institutions.

(10) Persons with disabilities face disadvantages in educational attainment, labor market outcomes, financial stability, housing, and standard of living conditions.

(11) Issues related to disability rights cut across all sectors, including democracy, human rights, labor, global health, education, and disaster relief.

(12) Persons with disabilities are members of all marginalized groups, including women, young people, the LGBTI community, ethnic and religious minorities, internally displaced people, and refugees.

(13) The public presence of the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the Department of State, first appointed in 2010, helped raise the visibility of persons with disabilities in Department policies and programs and improved the inclusion of disabilities in the Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and Trafficking in Persons reports.

(14) There is currently no mandate that all Department of State programming be disability inclusive and the Department does not have a formal, publicly available disability policy.

SEC. 3. Office of International Disability Rights.

(a) In general.—The Secretary of State shall establish an Office of International Disability Rights (referred to in this section as the “Office”), which should be placed within the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

(b) Purpose.—The Office shall coordinate efforts of the United States Government, as directed by the Secretary, regarding human rights for persons with disabilities and advancing the status of persons with disabilities in United States foreign policy.

(c) Duties.—The Office shall carry out the following:

(1) Serve as the principal advisor to the Department of State on all matters related to international rights for persons with disabilities.

(2) Represent the United States in diplomatic and multilateral fora on matters relevant to the rights of persons with disabilities and work to raise the profile of disability across a broader range of organizations contributing to international development efforts.

(3) Work to ensure that disability inclusive practices and empowerment of persons with disabilities are fully integrated into all United States foreign operations.

(4) Conduct regular consultation with civil society organizations working to advance international disability rights and empower persons with disabilities internationally.

(5) Consult with other relevant offices at the Department of State that are responsible for drafting annual reports documenting progress on human rights to include references to instances of discrimination, prejudice, or abuses of persons with disabilities wherever applicable.

(6) Advise the Department of State’s Bureau of Human Resources Development on the hiring and recruitment and overseas practices of civil service employees and foreign service officers with disabilities and their family members with chronic medical conditions or disabilities.

(d) Supervision.—The Office shall be headed by a Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. The Special Advisor should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of disability rights.

(e) Consultation.—The Secretary shall direct Ambassadors at Large, Representatives, Special Envoys, and coordinators working on human rights to consult with the Office to promote the human rights and full participation in international development activities of all persons with disabilities.

SEC. 4. Training.

(a) In general.—The Secretary of State shall require online or in-person mandatory disability inclusion training for all civil service and foreign service personnel of the Department of State and chiefs of mission, including on—

(1) how to develop solicitations, programming, budgets, and policies that are inclusive;

(2) how to ensure a disability-inclusive work environment;

(3) how to conduct disability-inclusive analyses of laws and programming;

(4) how to support local disabled people’s organizations; and

(5) how to ensure nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from the Department mainstream disability rights throughout all programs.

(b) Foreign service officers.—The Secretary shall ensure that training for foreign service officers under subsection (a) should include country-specific and cultural considerations.

SEC. 5. Disability inclusion in foreign policy.

(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that, since international disability rights is foundational to development, national security, and economic outcomes, disability inclusion should be mainstreamed through all foreign assistance and programming.

(b) Formal policy for disability inclusion.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall develop and adopt a formal policy for disability inclusion in the Department of State.

(2) MATTERS TO BE INCLUDED.—Such policy should include information and guidance on the Department’s approach to disability inclusion in United States foreign assistance programming, including—

(A) recruiting and hiring, employment, overseas assignments, accessibility, foreign assistance, program monitoring and evaluation, and reporting; and

(B) access and inclusion at the Department’s headquarters and United States diplomatic posts.

(3) CONSULTATION.—In developing and adopting such policy, the Secretary shall consult with—

(A) disabled person’s organizations and international nongovernmental organizations working on disability rights; and

(B) the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote coherence of such policy with USAID’s formal disability policy.

(4) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The Secretary shall publish such policy on a publicly available website of the Department.

SEC. 6. Report and briefing requirements.

(a) In general.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit a report and provide a briefing to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate on the steps taken to implement this Act.

(b) Matters To be included.—The report and briefing required by subsection (a) shall include—

(1) an explanation of policies and programs to fulfill—

(A) the duties of the Office of International Disability Rights under section 3; and

(B) the training requirements under section 4;

(2) the status of efforts to mainstream disability rights throughout Department of State programming without regard to whether such programming is specifically directed toward persons with disabilities;

(3) explanation of disability-specific programming across the Department;

(4) any policy, programming, or human resources gaps to mainstreaming disability rights throughout the Department and plans to address gaps through appropriate mechanisms;

(5) progress made on the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities as a result of Department policies and programming; and

(6) recommendations for legislative actions to fully implement the matters described in paragraphs (1) through (5).

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