FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2010
Mark Daley (202) 416-7681
Paralyzed Veterans of America Marks 2010 International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Friday, December 3rd
Urges Senate to Ratify Important International Convention for People with Disabilities
Washington DC - Paralyzed Veterans of Americav(Paralyzed Veterans) is marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities by urging the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which would help to expand accessibility for the world’s 650 million people with disabilities.
The United Nations first established this annual observance in 1981 to coincide with International Year for Disabled Persons. The special day is designed to promote understanding of the rights of those with disabilities and the contributions people with disabilities can make to their communities. That goal mirrors Paralyzed Veterans’ mission to empower all veterans and people with disabilities by working to ensure an America in which they can participate fully.
“We have made great progress over the past few decades in advancing the rights of people with disabilities -- and the United States has been a role model for many of these advances,” said Bill Lawson, National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of our nation’s most important pieces of civil rights legislation. It’s a great example of American leadership and the inspiration for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Convention would help to expand accessibility across the world for millions of people with disabilities, a portion of whom wore the uniform of this nation to preserve and advance freedom (and that includes the freedom to travel to other parts of the world and access the global economy). Surely its time for the Senate to ratify this important convention in the same bipartisan way it passed the ADA and the ADA amendments.”
Paralyzed Veterans helped to lead the way for the passage of the ADA which helps Americans with disabilities fight employment discrimination and gain improved access to transportation, public accommodations and public services. Enforcement challenges remain, but the ADA has provided countless benefits to veterans with disabilities and civilians alike.
President Obama signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last year and dozens of other nations have already ratified it. Inspired by the ADA, this international human rights advance exemplifies American leadership in improving the lives of and increasing opportunities for all people with disabilities. The next step toward equality for all persons with disabilities is for the Senate to ratify the Convention.
The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD), along with Paralyzed Veterans and other organizations, is promoting ratification of the Convention, which is designed to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities,” the USICD states. The Convention covers issues such as accessibility, personal mobility, health, education, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, political involvement and nondiscrimination. Disability is a human rights issue and should not become the basis for marginalizing individuals and barring them from full participation in society, USICD says.
For more information about the Convention and U.S. efforts to ratify it, visit: http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/crpd-ratification-advocacy. For more information on International Day of Persons with Disabilities observances at the U.N., go to http://www.un.org/disabilities/.
The State Department will also host events in honor of the day from 12:30 - 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 in the Harry S. Truman Building’s Loy Henderson Conference Room at 2201 C Street N.W., in Washington, DC. For more information, go to http://www.usicd.org/detail/event.cfm?event_id=59&id=166.
Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a band of spinal cord injured service members who returned home from World War II to a grateful nation, but also to a world with few solutions to the challenges they faced. These veterans from the “Greatest Generation” made a decision not just to live, but to live with dignity as contributors to society. They created an organization dedicated to veterans service, medical research and civil rights for people with disabilities. And for more than six decades, Paralyzed Veterans of America and its 34 chapters have been working to create an America where all veterans and people with disabilities, and their families, have everything they need to thrive.