Excerpt from: DailyToReador.com (click for full article)
October is National Disability Awareness Month, a month where we have celebrated the advocates and leaders who have come before us, including those who helped to shape the Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other legislation that promotes the human rights of people with disabilities. Now, a new legislative opportunity is on the table, offering a chance to positively impact disability rights on a global scale.
The United States is poised for a significant leap forward toward equality with the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This human rights treaty has been ratified and has entered into force in more than 120 nations – from Algeria to Zambia – representing the largest collaborative effort in international disability rights history. Ratifying nations are joining forces as never before, but nations must ratify the CRPD to gain a voice in this global network.
In 2009, the U.S. became a signatory to the CRPD. However, the push for ratification has only recently received national attention and significant, bipartisan support. Senators McCain and Kerry were leaders of the ratification effort with support by the first President Bush and many others.
Now that a Senate subcommittee has approved a treaty package, the final step to ratification requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate. Through the advocacy efforts of the United States International Council on Disabilities, the Council for Exceptional Children, more than 20 veterans’ groups, and countless other nonprofit and disabled persons’ organizations, there is a very real possibility that the Senate will vote for ratification in November.
The treaty packaged currently proposed in the Senate includes significant reservations, understandings and declarations which fully protect U.S. sovereignty and require no changes to current U.S. law, while still allowing U.S. participation in the CRPD to benefit people with disabilities. If ratified, the CRPD will ensure:
• A seat for U.S. advocates and Disabled People’s Organizations at United Nations Committee discussions on disability (without ratification, they have no voice in these discussions),
• Greater protections for all U.S. citizens, especially those with disabilities, when traveling internationally,
• Access to international collaborative and consultative opportunities for U.S. disability-related non-profits and businesses.
Your help is needed. There is organized opposition to the CRPD, and to achieve ratification, we must all respond. Getting involved is as easy as contacting your senators and voicing your support, but I hope that you will not stop there.