Handicap International regrets today's United States 61-38 Senate vote against ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a treaty that protects the rights of people with disabilities.
"It was time for the U.S. to support global efforts to eradicate the poverty and exclusion that many people with disabilities suffer abroad,” said Elizabeth MacNairn, executive director of Handicap International US. “Instead, the U.S. sent a message of exclusion to the world. This is a low day for the U.S. – for not doing the right thing when the world called on us to show leadership, for failing to show that we respect and stand up for the rights of people with disabilities, no matter where they happen to live.
“The opposition to the CRPD presented false arguments– this treaty has been fully reviewed by Department of Justice, and deserved swift passage.”
Handicap International staff in 60-plus countries implement the CRPD in their daily actions and through more than 300 projects. Teams witness the power of disability rights and the implementation of the CRPD in developing countries – the treaty works and helps to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Vietnam Veteran John Lancaster, a member of the Handicap International board, and a leading voice in the U.S. disability rights community, was disappointed in the outcome. In July, he told the Foreign Relations Committee, “We aspire to what's in this convention. This is what we're about as a nation: including people, giving them freedom, giving them rights, and giving them the opportunity to work, to learn, to participate. Isn't this what we want the rest of the world to be about?”
Handicap International is encouraged that Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) have indicated they will continue to push for the passage of this crucial Treaty.