Senate Urged to Ratify Disabilities Treaty
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged prompt Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a step that would demonstrate U.S. leadership in global efforts to protect the rights of those with disabilities. The call came in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Robert Corker (R-TN), who will lead tomorrow’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the treaty.
“Approximately 15 percent of the world’s population live with some sort of disability, many facing barriers that prevent them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society,” wrote Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino. “As an American organization whose central mission is to advance U.S. global leadership on human rights, we believe the United States should be leading the fight for inclusion and justice worldwide.”
When the United States enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, it inspired a global movement to protect the rights of disabled people everywhere. That movement produced the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which declares that all people, regardless of ability, deserve to live in dignity. This treaty has been ratified by 138 nations, including every major U.S. ally.
On December 5, in recognition of his pioneering advocacy on behalf of the disabled, Human Rights First will honor former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole with its Beacon Prize for American global leadership on human rights. Senator Dole spearheaded bipartisan passage of the landmark Americans with Disability Act, which President George H.W. Bush signed into law, and returned to Capitol Hill last year to press the United States Senate to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Though its ratification was narrowly defeated in the Senate last year, Senator Dole continues to champion ratification of the treaty. Senator Dole has observed that ratification of the treaty would reaffirm our country’s “common values of equality, access, and inclusion for all individuals with disabilities.”