The Arc Reacts to the U.S. Senate’s Defeat of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Washington, DC – The Arc released the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate’s defeat of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“This is a sad day for individuals with disabilities across the globe. The simple truth is that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would help individuals with disabilities around the world obtain the rights and protections we have here in the United States.  The ratification of this treaty would have unified us with millions of disability advocates, family members, and self-advocates of all nations. This isn’t the end of this fight – advocates across our country will continue to work to make sure that our friends and colleagues abroad know that  we stand with them and share their goals,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc has been working with numerous other disability advocacy groups and U.S. Senators to garner support for the ratification of this treaty, which will promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities. For months, The Arc’s Public Policy team and grassroots advocates across the country have been working to promote the CRPD and ensure ratification.  And in October 2012, The Arc hosted its annual convention in Washington, DC with Inclusion International, a global federation of family-based organizations advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide.  A major focus of the conference was the vital importance of the CRPD and the release of Inclusion International’s Global Report on the Right to Live and Be Included in the Community.

The United States signed the CRPD on July 30, 2009, joining the 141 other signing nations.  As of June 2012, the Convention had 113 ratifications and 153 signatures.  On May 17, 2012, following almost three years of thorough review, the Obama Administration submitted its treaty package to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent for ratification.  Over 165 disability rights organizations and 21 veterans’ service organizations support ratification of the treaty.  Senator Bob Dole, who was a champion of the Americans with Disabilities Act, was present for the vote and urged his fellow Republicans to vote in favor of the treaty.  Unfortunately, his plea along with strong Congressional and disability community support was not enough to overcome the unfounded fears raised by the opposition.

3 thoughts on “The Arc Reacts to the U.S. Senate’s Defeat of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  1. I am disappointed in the vote. Unfortunately, it reflects the dysfunction and acrimony among our two political parties in Washington. Let’s not give up and bring it up for vote in the next Congress.

  2. As president of a local chapter of the Arc, I am completely outraged. I don’t understand why this was so difficult for the Senate to agree upon. Where did Rick Santorum get his facts? Yes, it is a sad day and I hope to see this ratified in the near future.

  3. I am not a parent of a disabled child, but I have many friends who are. Please read the comments on another article here at ARC:
    http://insider.thearc.org/2012/12/10/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-defeated-in-the-senate/#comment-19948
    The UN CRPD does not contain language to actually do anything for disability rights abroad. Everything contained in the UN CRPD will apply to America only. Due to Article VI of the US Constitution, the UN CRPD will become “law of the land” if ratified. American judges are already citing international laws that the US hasn’t even ratified! Of course, the US will hold to the UN CRPD if it is ratified. The UN CRPD is an evolving document, in other words, it may sound wonderfully nice now, but once ratified Americans will be held to any changes made in the future. However, as the UN CRPD stands now, it is too vague. In Article VII it allows the “best interest of the child” (of a disabled child) to be determined by the Committee of the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Please do NOT support a treaty that undermines America’s ability to govern Americans.
    Mr. Michael Farris has been an advocate for American freedom for 30 years. He has studied and worked in law. He has seen many cases where international law has superseded in our American Court Rooms. Please watch his interview on the UN CRPD:
    http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/11/farris-u-n-treaty-is-a-law/
    After reading the treaty in it’s entirety and watching Mr. Farris’ interview, I urge ARC to please reconsider their stand on the UN CRPD. Please oppose ratification of the UN CRPD. Thank you for your time.

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