Thursday, June 7, 2012


In May, the Obama administration transmitted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to Congress for its advice and consent for ratification. The CRPD is a United Nations convention that was negotiated in 2006. Today, the Convention has been signed by 153 and ratified by 118 countries. 

Although the treaty was signed by President Obama in 2009, ratification of the treaty shows the serious commitment of the U.S. to disability rights. Ratification also allows the U.S. to participate in an International Committee established to help other countries implement the treaty. 

Like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the CRPD emphasizes non-discrimination and equal access for all people across all areas of life. The CRPD brings the fundamental values of equality, human dignity, and participation of the ADA to an international scale. Through the CRPD, Americans with disabilities—including Veterans—will have equal rights when working, traveling, and studying abroad. 

On May 25th, a group of 7 bipartisan Senators publically announced their support for CRPD ratification. The Senators were  John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tom Harkin (D-IA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Tom Udall (D-NM).   

By ratifying the Convention, the U.S. will show support for these international policies, but also set an example for other countries to follow suit. Since the CRPD has been transmitted by the Obama Administration to the Senate, the next step towards ratification is for the Convention to pass through the Senate Foreign Relations committee with a simple majority vote. 

Thank you Senators McCain, Durbin, Moran, Harkin, Barrasso, Coons, and Udall for announcing your support for treaty ratification and helping the U.S. remain a leader on disability rights legislation! The Society looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and partners like the U.S. International Council on Disabilities to ensure that this important treaty is ratified.

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