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:: Senate to Approve Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • Date : 2012/05/27 (Rev: 2014/11/28)
  • Wendy Taormina-Weiss - Disabled World
  • Synopsis : U.S. International Council on Disabilities effort to get the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified in America.

Main Document

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities has been leading the effort to get the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified in America.

Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - On July 30, 2009, the United States signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD is the first human rights convention of the 21st century and the first international treaty to address disability rights globally. While the Convention does not establish new human rights, it does set out greater clarity of the obligations on States to promote, protect and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. U.S. ratification of the Convention requires a "resolution of ratification" achieved by 2/3 support (67 super-majority vote) in Senate.

The Obama Administration has submitted the CRPD to the Senate for advice and consent for ratification. With immense pleasure, many Disability Organizations and millions of People with Disabilities in this nation now find support for ratification of the CRPD being issued by seven senators.

The seven senators involved represent a bipartisan effort, something that is certainly a pleasure to witness these days out of Washington, D.C. The senators are:

  • Udall (D-NM)
  • Durbin (D-IL)
  • Moran (R-KS)
  • Harkin (D-IA)
  • Coons (D-DE)
  • McCain (R-AZ)
  • Barrasso (R-WY)

The senators have affirmed that the treaty upholds the American values of nondiscrimination, as well as equal access for all people with disabilities in every area of life. They are promoting the CRPD; something that will help to protect Americans with Disabilities who travel and work in other nations from discrimination, to include disabled American veterans, while assisting to ensure that every American enjoys the same rights outside of America as they do while they are at home.

Marca Bristo, President of the USICD stated, "As the Americans with Disabilities Act provides guarantees that all people with disabilities including our wounded returning military personnel will be able to fully participate in the U.S., the ratification of the CRPD treaty will open the doors to the world for the same individuals. We as a society cannot afford to turn our backs on our wounded warriors, but need to afford them every opportunity for a productive and prosperous future in the United States and throughout the world."

From this writer's perspective, the CRPD is the most important treaty to appear in modern times. There are currently one-billion People with Disabilities in the world according to the latest estimate; we simply cannot be ignored, placed to one side, or continue to be denied the rights and protections we deserve. In the United States, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act - something that affords us with a certain amount of legal and other protections. The CRPD will enhance those rights and protections.

Marca Bristo also stated, "The ADA was the first major piece of domestic legislation in the world to address the discrimination, legal challenges, and physical and systemic barriers faced by individuals with disabilities. The CRPD seeks to achieve the same goals worldwide and promote inclusion in all aspects of society."

The ADA is now more than two decades old in the United States and has produced some sterling results. It is one of the hallmark pieces of legislation in America; one that every single person in this nation should be proud of. Inclusion; however, remains elusive for many People with Disabilities. There is more that needs to be done to ensure our full inclusion in society.

The CRPD covers many different areas of life and living in not only America, but other nations as well; it is a global effort. In America, as well as other nations that have ratified the treaty, a number of rights, protections, goals and objectives related to People with Disabilities are enhanced through the Convention. Examples of these include:

  • Accessibility
  • Work and Employment
  • Liberty and Security of Person
  • Equality and Non-discrimination
  • Respect for Home and the Family
  • Equal Recognition Before The Law
  • Participation in Political and Public life
  • Freedom from Exploitation, Violence and Abuse
  • Adequate Standard of Living and Social Protection
  • Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport
  • Living Independently and Being Included in the Community
  • Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information
  • Freedom of Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Former California Congressman Tony Coelho, who was a lead sponsor of the ADA and is currently a USICD board member stated, "The U.S. ratification of the CRPD will continue our country's distinguished tradition as a world leader for people with disabilities as evidenced by the ADA. We urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly approve the CRPD."

As awareness grew among the overall population in America concerning the population of People with Disabilities in this nation, so have efforts towards legislation supporting us. For many of us, this has been a painfully slow process, yet the results have continued to be very promising. As a child I had no real recognition of the signing of the Rehabilitation Act. By the time the ADA was signed I was very aware of disability issues on a personal basis, watching as it was signed. When I read about the signing of the CRPD I was overjoyed. Ratification of the CRPD may very well be the very best disability rights related item I ever witness in my lifetime.

The CRPD is consistent with not only the ADA, but also with IDEA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other Disability laws in America. Over time this nation has witnessed a change in social demeanor from a period when Cincinnati presented persons with intellectual disabilities as troublemakers for example, to a time where our core values related to People with Disabilities include:

  • Access to Justice
  • Access to Education
  • Dignity of the Individual
  • Respect for the Home and Family

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) affirms the disability rights laws in America that promote, protect, as well as ensure our rights in this nation. Ratification of the CRPD by America will allow this nation to participate at the CRPD Conference of States Parties and permit America to appoint a member of the CRPD Committee. With these abilities, America can then provide and influence guidance on the implementation of the treaty itself, as well as lend its expertise as additional nations develop their own disability rights laws.

Tony Coelho also stated, "Americans with disabilities living and working abroad should be able to benefit from a world economy that's fully accessible to all. The CRPD will create a more welcoming environment for U.S. citizens with disabilities who live and work around the globe such as military veterans and their families."

More than 150 national and local Disability Organizations support ratification of the CRPD. Among these organizations are 21 notable Veterans Service Organizations who have joined the disability community in supporting the treaty. Examples of these Veterans Service Organizations include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Wounded Warrior Project, and Disabled American Veterans.

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