Ambassador Hale’s Remarks at the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) “Supporting Women With Disabilities” Conference

Date: September 22, 2016
Location: Islamabad 
Remarks as Prepared

Assalamu Aleikum. Thank you for that kind introduction.

I am glad to be here today to join in celebrating the success of the STEP “Supporting Women with Disabilities” conference.

Promoting disability rights is an integral part of our efforts to promote human rights more broadly.

Discrimination against people with disabilities is not only unjust; it slows economic development, limits democracy, and erodes societies.

Within the State Department, led by our Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann, we have campaigned to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

In conjunction with the recent Paralympics, we have started a campaign called “Without Limits.” This campaign focuses on ensuring that persons with disabilities can and should be employed on an equal basis with others.

We are committed to removing barriers and creating a world in which disabled people enjoy dignity and full inclusion. To do this, we work with governments and organizations like STEP, to protect and promote the rights of disabled persons, and provide practical support to ensure their inclusion and full participation in society.

The STEP program that we are here to celebrate has done excellent work promoting the valuable contributions of Pakistani women with disabilities and their right to fully participate in society. America is stronger and more vibrant with the full contributions of persons with disabilities, and Pakistan is too.

As we recognize and plan how to build on the achievements of this STEP conference please remember that we are all “Without Limits.”