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U.S. Ratification - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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On July 30th of 2009, the United States of America signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

Now that America has signed the treaty, the Obama Administration is conducting an inter-agency legal review process in preparation for submission to the Senate for ‘Resolution of Ratification,' achieved by 2/3 Senate vote (or super-majority).

If the treaty passes, the CRPD is then returned to President Obama for his signature. Once the ratification process has been completed, the treaty, ‘enters into force,' which means the treaty then becomes the law of the land.


What is a human rights convention?

A convention, or treaty, is a legally binding document between 2 or more countries. A human rights convention is a treaty that deals specifically with human rights. The International convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is a “thematic treaty”, meaning that it defines the human rights of a particular demographic (in this case, the human rights of people with disabilities).


If the CRPD is Ratified, What Then?

Should the CRPD achieve ratification and enter into force, the United States would be required to implement all of its provisions. The CRPD does not create new rights; instead it seeks to strengthen the rights people with disabilities already have, as well as principles. The CRPD contains thirty-three provisions or substantive articles that detail how disability rights should be both interpreted and applied in order to prevent discrimination. The CRPD also adopts a flexible and broad approach which allows for the legal particularities of America to be taken into consideration.


In the United States, we already have the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So why do we also need to sign and ratify the CRPD?

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been very important to the daily lives of many Americans with disabilities, it does not, and cannot, fully cover all the basic human rights to which people with disabilities are entitled. The CRPD would supplement the power of the ADA to ensure that people with disabilities have stronger access to all the same human rights to which all people are entitled. Also, if the United States signs and ratifies the CRPD, it would help send a strong message to other countries that we, too, support human rights for people with disabilities. This may help inspire more countries to ratify the CRPD so that more people with disabilities around the world can enjoy its protections.


What rights does the CRPD cover?

The right to legal capacity (to make one’s own decisions)

The right to liberty

The right to live in the community

The right to respect for physical & mental integrity

The right to freedom from torture, violent exploitation and abuse

The right to healthcare and to free and informed consent in health services

The right to education

The right to vote and to participate in public & cultural life

The right to work, and to an adequate standard of living

The right to privacy

The right to habilitation & rehabilitation

The right to receive information in accessible formats

The right to marry and to divorce, and to share equally in child custody

The right to procreate, & the right to obtain contraception

The right to sign contracts, and own and inherit property

The right to accessible public transit and public accommodations

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