Mongolian leaders visit US to advance new disability rights legislation

Americas, News, February 23 2015

Seven Mongolian leaders, including the Minister of Population Development and Social Protection, members of Parliament, and leaders of disability rights organizations, will spend two weeks in the United States exploring the legal and regulatory framework that supports the rights of persons with disabilities. This two-way Professional Fellows On-Demand exchange program will allow the delegation to draw on the experiences, challenges, and lessons learned from the disability rights movement and government agencies in the United States as the Government of Mongolia seeks to develop a comprehensive disability rights law.

While in Washington, D.C., February 22-27, the delegation will deepen their understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through discussions with distinguished disability rights advocates, including Judith Heumann, U.S. Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, and John Wodatch, former Chief of the Disability Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice and key contributor to the ADA. The delegation will experience first-hand how the ADA was developed, is enforced and incorporated into all levels of society from equal employment opportunities, to accessible transportation and inclusive education in public schools.

The delegation will travel to San Francisco, March 1-7, to explore implementation efforts in the Bay Area with leading representatives of non-governmental organizations, universities, and local government. Site visits will include the Ed Roberts Campus, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability, the Centers for Independent Living in S.F. and Berkeley, and the Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund.

This is the second phase of the exchange program which began in November 2014 when John Wodatch traveled to Mongolia to assist in the initial planning and drafting of a disability rights law. Earlier in September, Special Advisor Heumann visited Ulaanbaatar to host a series of dialogues with government and civil society on increasing disability rights in Mongolia. This series of exchanges comes during the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the ADA, and reaffirms the U.S. commitment to the inclusion of persons with disabilities both at home and abroad.

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