The United States became the 142nd country to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday.
The convention seeks to expand community access and employment opportunities while improving the standard of living for the estimated 650 million people around the world with disabilities. It is the first new human rights convention this century.
President Barack Obama announced his intention to sign onto the treaty at a ceremony earlier in July commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Susan Rice, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, signed the treaty Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, while noting that there is still more work to be done.
“Our work is not complete until we have an enduring guarantee of the inherent dignity, worth and independence of all persons with disabilities worldwide,” she said. “Let the signing of the treaty today be an ongoing source of inspiration for us all in our shared struggle to bring old barriers down.”
Obama will now submit the treaty to the Senate for advice and consent.