Ratification of the CRPD is supported by hundreds of disability organizations, faith organization, civil rights groups, veterans groups, and major business groups to include the Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Senate needs to fight for the 57.8 million Americans who experience forms of disabilities, 5.5 million American veterans with disabilities, and the 1 billion people with disabilities around the world today by voting to ratify the CRPD. The treaty had strong bipartisan support; now the Senate is receiving an opportunity that does not come along very often in Washington, D.C. - a second chance to the what is right and ratify the CRPD.
The President of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, Marca Bristo, found herself energized by the turnout at the second hearing. She was encouraged by the substantive discussion of the treaty. Ms. Bristo stated, "I'm thrilled and gratified that we have had such a robust turnout for this hearing. Those present today represented the strength, diversity, and commitment of our community. Our coalition reflects America and the millions of Americans with disabilities, professionals, veterans, and religious and civil rights organizations who both need and want the Disability Treaty to be ratified. I would like to thank Secretary Kerry and Chairman Menendez for their continued leadership and support on this crucial treaty."
The U.S. Senate is considering ratifying a U.N. treaty that would require all signatories to provide the same opportunities to people with disabilities the United States already provides. The treaty imposes no new requirements on Americans, it does encourage other people in the world to follow America's lead. The CRPD offers people with disabilities things such as:
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act, is more commonly known as the, 'Disabilities Treaty.' The treaty is an easy one for the United States to ratify, but due to a mistaken view that it will somehow impose new requirements on America and current U.S. law the Senate failed to ratify it last December. The hope is that this time around leaders in the United States will do what is right and join other nations in the world who have ratified the treaty.
The CRPD is an incredibly important treaty to millions upon millions of people with disabilities around the world. It is important for the United States to show the rest of the world that it respects every person, to include people with disabilities, by ratifying the treaty. It is important for America to demonstrate that we respect every life of every American by providing them with tools to create their own success. Having access for people with disabilities is a huge move in the correct direction.
Even though America has demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities, a number of countries have not made doing so a priority. The disabilities treaty tracks the U.S. model and encourages accessibility for people with disabilities. Sidewalks will receive curb cuts for wheelchair users and others to cross the street. Bathrooms will become accessible and parking will be made available to people with disabilities. Discrimination will become illegal in countries that sign the CRPD.
The United States of America must ratify the CRPD in order to reaffirm our global leadership and set an example while promoting principles and rights for people everywhere in the world. If America desires to continue a presence as a world leader it must demonstrate continued leadership on a global level. True global leadership requires involvement in examples of such leadership; ratification of the CRPD provides an opportunity for America.
Secretary of State John Kerry stated, "I still believe what I believed the first time - that ratification of the Disabilities Treaty will advance core American values, expand opportunities for our citizens and businesses, and strengthen American leadership. And I am still convinced that we give up nothing by joining but get everything in return. Our ratification doesn't require a single change to American law, and it won't add a penny to our budget. But it will provide the hook we need to push other countries to raise their laws and standards for the protection of people with disabilities to the standard we set at home under President George H.W. Bush and Republican Leader Dole when we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act."
For a great many people who experience forms of disabilities, not only in America but around the world, it is our great hope that the United States of America will finally ratify the CRPD. American veterans with disabilities, as well as many other people with disabilities in America, desire to find ourselves with the ability to travel and study elsewhere in the world knowing we will find ourselves with access to the same things others have access to. The 1 billion people who experience forms of disabilities around the world today are looking toward America for the leadership they expect from this nation's leadership through ratification of the CRPD and our joining of the world in acknowledgment of equal rights.