Disability advocates flooded a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on November 5, 2013, in a push to ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), a treaty to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities in more than 150 countries.
Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Honorable Richard Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General and the Honorable Thomas J. Ridge, former Secretary of Home Land Security and current Chairman of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) all testified, emphasizing their support for the treaty. Some senators on the committee expressed concern about the technical aspects of the treaty and how it relates to U.S. law, the U.N. and sovereignty.
Advocates contend that the CRPD has no legal authority in the U.S. without specific action beyond ratification by Congress, and that it will reaffirm the U.S. commitment to and leadership in international disability rights.
“We set the gold standard in disability access, yet our legitimacy to lead other nations is weakened because we have not yet ratified the CRPD,” Rep. Duckworth stated at the November 5th hearing. “The CRPD will allow veterans with disabilities to have greater opportunities to work, study and travel abroad as countries implement this treaty. Veterans, active service members and their families who are affected by disability will be able to lead active lives around the world.”
Learn more about the CRPD