Monday, August 27, 2012

Call to Support the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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Prior to the Congressional August recess, MS Activists were asked to contact their U.S. Senators to support the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). As you may know, the treaty was crafted by the UN and signed by over 153 countries, including the United States on July 30, 2009. Of course, since that day the treaty has sat in the White House, that is, until this past May when it was finally submitted to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Essentially, the treaty:
  • adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities  
  • identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Quoted from: United Nations Enable )
 It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as "objects"  of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as "subjects" with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.  (Quoted from: United Nations Enable)                                                                                    
Overall the CRPD has widespread bipartisan support. Nevertheless, some oppose the treaty, notably South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint who hoped to end the Convention in Committee. Senator DeMint wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times explaining his position, which you can find here. Fortunately, those against the treaty are a small minority. Watch the video below to see why Senator Tom Harkin, among others, supports passage of the CRPD.


Looking for more information? Visit this link to read Obama's original speech announcing the signing of the CRPD. Click here to read what Senator McCain had to say on his website. Last but not least, be sure and visit The Hill's Congress Blog to read this article by former legislators Senator Dole (R) and Representative Tony Coehlo (D).

Interested in reading the treaty itself? Click here.

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