On July 30th of 2009, the United States of America signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/discrimination/crpd-signing.php#ixzz1vXMoVuOb
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
On July 30, 2009, the President of the United States signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It is now necessary to give 'force' to the treaty under US law through its ratification by Senate super-majority vote.
I support the Convention because I support the rights of people with disabilities. The ongoing egregious reports of human rights violations, torture and senseless deaths of people with disabilities within the U.S. reveal that, now more than ever, it is time we as a nation recommit ourselves in solidarity.
As believers in the human rights of our nations most marginalized and vulnerable, we recognize current laws as insufficient and demand more be done! It it time human rights of those with disabilities prevail over the unjustifiable, superseding interests commonly cited as justification for those violations of, for instance, the right to inclusion, bodily integrity and respect for dignity.
I am calling on the United States Senate to vote to ratify the CRPD and protect the rights of our nations most overlooked - adults and children with disabilities.