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  • Disabilities Treaty Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities

    Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) announced his intention to proceed to executive session tomorrow to consider the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty purporting to protect the rights of the disabled that the Obama Administration signed in July 2009.

    However, U.S. membership in CRPD would not advance U.S. national interests either at home or abroad.

    The rights of Americans with disabilities are well protected under existing law and are enforced by a wide range of state and federal agencies. Joining CRPD merely opens the door for foreign “experts” to interfere in U.S. policymaking in violation of the principles of American sovereignty.

    Ratification of CRPD would do nothing to improve the existing statutory framework and enforcement system for protecting the rights of Americans with disabilities.

    Ratification of the CRPD is unnecessary to end discrimination against people with disabilities in the U.S. As is made clear throughout the Obama Administration’s Transmittal Package, the U.S. already has in place numerous federal laws to protect and advance the cause of Americans with disabilities. Major pieces of legislation include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

    Other federal laws that protect people with disabilities include the Telecommunications Act, the Air Carrier Access Act, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, and the Architectural Barriers Act.

    Unlike the broad provisions of CRPD, these federal laws were crafted to address the situation of disabled people living in the U.S., not to reflect the general opinions of the international community. The legislation is a firm foundation that can be modified or expanded as necessary through the legislative or regulatory process.

    The Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would inevitably interfere with U.S. policymaking, thereby infringing on American sovereignty and intruding into matters wholly unrelated to disability rights.

    To monitor implementation, human rights treaties usually establish a “committee of experts” to review reports from states parties on their compliance. States parties are required to submit periodic reports (usually every four years) to the committee detailing their compliance with the particular treaty.

    The CRPD established the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD committee) to review periodic reports and make “such suggestions and general recommendations on the report as it may consider appropriate.”

    Human rights treaty committees have been known to make demands that fall well outside the scope of the subject matter of the treaty and conflict with the legal, social, economic, and cultural traditions and norms of states. This has especially been the case with the U.S.

    For instance, in February 2008, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reviewed the U.S. record on racial discrimination and issued a report directing the U.S. to change its policies on a series of political causes that are completely divorced from the issues of race and racial discrimination. Specifically, the committee urged the U.S. to guarantee effective judicial review to the foreign unlawful enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, prevent U.S. corporations from abusing the rights of indigenous populations living in other countries, place a moratorium on the death penalty, and restore voting rights to convicted felons.

    The committees overseeing the enforcement of other human rights treaties often recommend changes in policies that are outside of traditional American norms. For example, the committee that oversees the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women regularly advocates that states decriminalize prostitution, expand access to abortion, devalue the role of women as mothers, reduce parental authority, and implement strict numerical gender quotas in the government and private sectors.

    The U.S. has reason to expect that the experts on the CRPD committee will give short shrift to U.S. sovereignty, laws, regulations, and norms and embark on similar forays in pursuit of a broader agenda of social engineering unrelated to disability rights.

    As with any other treaty, the Senate should weigh the costs and benefits entailed with ratifying CRPD. Neither the U.S. nor Americans with disabilities would benefit from a quadrennial chastisement by a committee of international disability experts sitting in Geneva.

    Instead, the U.S. should continue to lead by the example it has set for protecting the rights of Americans with disabilities through comprehensive legislation and enforcement.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Disabilities Treaty Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities

    1. Trish says:

      Yes, please call your senators and ask them to oppose this treaty. It usurps your right as a parent to determine what is best for your child(ren).

      • George says:

        I must have missed the part in this whole analysis where the US is forced to implement all these horrifying recommendations from international experts. What a dishonest, alarmist analysis. These recommendations are not binding and this treaty doesn't infringe on US sovereignty. It does allow the US to help improve quality of life for disabled people in other countries and for disabled Americans traveling abroad, but don't let the facts get in the way of your opinions.

        • Mike says:

          If it essentially does nothing, why agree to it at all?

        • Jason says:

          Article 6 paragraph 2 of the US constitution states that …"all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby…"

          Sounds like we're forced…

    2. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Does the UN do any good in the traditional, old-fashioned sense of the word? I know…get with the times.

      Does the UN not think we are moving left fast enough? Wow! I really cannot relate to people like that.

    3. Debra Herman says:

      This treaty should be opposed because it will only interfere with U.S. sovereignty and take parental rights away from parents and give them to an unelected board of elites made up of many of America's enemies. It is a way to defeat democracy here at home and abroad.
      The Democratic party is moving so far left that soon it will be identical to the Communist party in philosophy and actions. Examples: anti-Christian biases (eliminating any reference to God in our public life), nationalization (health care), and promoting "socialist Internationalism" such as giving the U.N. more and more powers over U.S. governing decisions.
      This treaty isn't only a bad idea which promotes socialism. It is a dangerous act which can only have a negative impact on our democratic freedoms.

      • Guest says:

        Why do conservatives feel so threatened by a treaty that's only purpose is to show solidarity in support of the rights of disabled people throughout the world. Maybe the biggest conservative constituents, US Corporations, are fearful that a tougher stance on the rights of disabled will somehow translate into higher operating costs in foreign markets. Or is it even about disabled rights? Is it more of a statement against the UN. Maybe its the distrust conservatives have for an international body that is no longer a "puppet" of the US Corporatocracy. The Right still harbors resentment for the UN's stance on Bush's illegal war in Iraq . And I suppose it is anti-Christain to want to improve the lives of all disabled people all over the world.

    4. Bobbie says:

      The Americans with disabilities act is much more effective, humane and considerate. Sorry disabilities treaty, YOU'RE BELOW AMERICAN STANDARDS! Your intelligence is narrow and incapable of reason. America as the world deserves the better way.

    5. This disability treaty is profoundly necessary here in USA and I am a lucky to be alive evidence example who formerly worked for the USA division of international pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline who terminated my employment after 26 years for disability reasons and through legal loop hole refused to support their disability determination and they stopped my medical coverage. Even though I paid for long term disability protection to GSK through pay roll deductions, I got not one cent and GSK tried to bargain my life through my health. GSK would not even release my company medical records and company personnel records to Pennsylvania Worker's Comp Court not even after a Workers Comp Court Order was issued which I subsequently learned is not a order enforceable by Pennsylvania law. GSK took their position against me after I was attacked in GSK and GSK then promoted the attacker to be my boss even with the GSK found fact that the attacker tried to attack another co-worker inside GSK and where GSK wrote a letter demanding that the other victim keep the matter secret. I was given that letter and I have it now. The disability laws in USA are smoke and mirrors at the whim of large corporate entities and I am barely alive proof. Americans with disability act in effect applies to small money and tooth fairy similar fools who believe in it.

      • Mac says:

        While that is sad to hear, the reality is that the correct solution to this problem is not having an unelected group of non-american officials determining how to adjust American laws. We should continue to fight for the rights of people like you who have been wronged, but we must do that in the actual legal channels to get these things done. Our constitution matters.

      • So you would rather give power to the UN. People who really dont care about Americans And let them tell how to deal with issues. How bout this you leave the US to a another country!!

      • Lisa says:

        Our system may not be perfect. However, with American law we can work to improve it by voting to change members of Congress and our President. None of us always get exactly what we want, but it's a pretty great system. (Do you really want to have to have your disabled child's name put on a list maintained by the UN? Does that not scare anyone? Article 18 of the Treaty: "Children with disabilities shall be registered immediately after birth…")

        If we look to a foreign body to write our laws, there is no recourse. We lose our freedom if we give up control to unelected committees that may or may not (most likely NOT) share our values. I do not want any unelected foreign body controlling any part of my life. Please, Senate, do your job and protect us from foreign aggressors.

        Gus, work to change American law where it can be improved. Don't give away our freedom.

      • mark says:

        Can understand your position and how you have been screwed by the system, especially when dealing with Worker's Comp., but the point is that the changes needed to protect someone in your position needs to come from within the U.S. and not from UN…no outside legislative body should have any say in this country…that is the reason that it should be opposed. Further, from what I have been able to read up on it, it would not be of benefit in your particxular situation.

      • David says:

        Instead of hoping the UN will help you go out and get a disability lawyer. If you really have a case they will take it and it won't cost you a thing until they win.

    6. This sounds exactly what obama would do in order to get rid of American sovereignty and hand it over to the UN.

    7. Bruce Dunn says:

      America does not need to be held to standards coming from outside of the country, especially the UN. It's not fair or effective for policies to be foisted upon any country by outsidersl

    8. june says:

      Obviously, the senators who voted against this haven't seen realities like what is shown in below links, happening all across the USA! News links show sadistic, cruel caregivers caught on tape secretly abusing defenseless non verbal severely autistic adult: If this isn't a hate crime, what is hate? We see caregivers doing repeated acts of abuse against the young man, punching, kicking, shoving him. Pulling his hair. Poking him in the eye. And the reason? The caregivers appear lazy and put out in having to care for him, showing how they hate the person they are paid to care for. Just sick people. Keep your eye on this case as it represents upholding the rights and dignity of all in the disability community.

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