Item 3 – Annual Debate on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
as delivered by David Mandel-Anthony
Human Rights Council 37th Session
Geneva, March 7, 2018

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

The United States would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities and other panelists for this discussion.

Under U.S. federal law people with disabilities are protected from discrimination in State and local government services, programs, and activities, including law enforcement agencies, justice system entities, and juvenile and adult corrections agencies.

Nondiscrimination provisions, such as those that provide reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures and require appropriate steps to communicate effectively with people with disabilities, also support the goals of ensuring public safety, promoting public welfare, and avoiding unnecessary criminal justice involvement for people with disabilities.

For instance, state and local courts must provide users with disabilities with reasonable accommodations to give them the opportunity to participate on an equal basis with others. The following are examples of accommodations that courts may provide to meet this requirement:

  • Interpreters: American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Computer Aided Real-time Transcription (CART) services, text in alternative formats such as Braille, audio access, and Assistive Listening Devices
  • Readers and note takers
  • Alternative seating arrangements and locations
  • Modified schedules

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that persons with disabilities have the right to judicial access under U.S. federal law to ensure accessibility of state courts.

Thank you.