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UN Disability Treaty Clears Senate Committee


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Two years after rejecting an international disability rights treaty, the U.S. Senate is poised to reconsider the matter.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by a 12 to 6 vote Tuesday.

The treaty, which establishes an international standard for disability rights similar to what’s already in place domestically through the Americans with Disabilities Act, is now headed to the full Senate where it would need a two-thirds majority vote to be ratified.

This is the second time that the U.N. Convention is making its way through the Senate. The same committee also approved the treaty in 2012 before it failed on a largely party-lines vote that year in the full Senate.

A coalition of more than 800 disability, civil rights, faith, business and veterans organizations favor ratification. But the treaty has faced stiff opposition spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association. The group contends that the treaty would compromise U.S. sovereignty and threaten the ability of parents to determine what’s best for their kids.

Proponents of the measure say such concerns are unfounded. Ratifying the treaty would not require any change to American law, but would allow the United States to take a leadership role in the international community on disability rights issues, supporters say.

The U.S. signed the U.N. Convention in 2009, but Senate approval is needed in order to make participation official. At present, 146 countries around the world and the European Union have ratified the treaty.

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Comments (7 Responses)

  1. Karen Olson says:

    I would be very reluctant to jump on the bandwagon BEFORE I knew exactly how this would affect Americans. The UN is not known to be a very pro-American organization. We don’t want the UN involved in any way, shape or form with our disabled children and adults.

  2. Rita Johnson says:

    Why! are we involving the UN…. so we can pay for disabilities world wide. or those coming in illegally ?? Are we not a nation and the why is getting bigger… I don’t want the UN in any way making decisions about our disabled children. what is going on??? losing our rights one after another!!! rj

  3. sarah says:

    The UN is not an organization that I want involved in my son’s future. I strongly believe that it is a very corrupt entity and is only looking for a way to get money from the US. Look who is on their human rights council.

  4. Patti Ulirsch says:

    I find it incredibly sad to read the earlier responses… much fear and misinformation. There is no takeover here; there is simply an attempt to further what the US did with the Americans with Disabilities Act to a more international scale. I would love to see those with disabilities respected worldwide, and given better access as we have developed in the US, and that is the purpose and the intent of this treaty. The UN would not be making any decisions about our children, and whoever is pushing this idea is misleading you. This is simply about having more universal standards for people with disabilities, using the ADA as a model. Why would you not want better access and rights for people with disabilities?

  5. Sue Keller says:

    I agree with the Home School Legal Defense Association. Why exactly do we need the UN meddling in our domestic affairs? The United Nations Association has over 130 chapters all over the US. I find that most unsettling.

  6. Karen says:

    America’s Constitution is a well preserved piece of legal code.
    Treaties are treated like #include’d rules or external software code.
    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is the Gold Standard!
    The UN treaty is like a symbolic link pointing back to the ADA.
    We have nothing to fear but spaghetti code and meatballs :-)

  7. Whitney says:

    I find most political statements are spend on misinformation and actual facts. I find American beliefs system to be very hypocritical when it comes to rights of the disabled. Basically when it does cost money they are for rights of the minorities. The UN treaty is based off the US ADA act and if the United States is not living up to its own laws it shows negatively on the world stage. I am all for the United States proving itself as the leader to Disability rights. Because it needs to really look hard at itself in the mirror. Talking pretty does no one good but stroke the egos of some.

    If you are worried about rights look at voting rights acts of US congress stripping away Vets, Disabled, and elderly from the right of voting. All this done because .0001% voting fraud or look at some states gerrymandering.

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