• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Disabilities Treaty Just Another U.N. Power Grab

    International treaties sound like a good idea, especially when they claim to protect vulnerable people. The problem is, America already does more than any other country to ensure equal rights for its people—and the United Nations just wants the power to interfere in American law.

    The Senate is now considering the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). President Obama signed this treaty in 2009, but the Senate has yet to agree to it. It needs a two-thirds majority of Senators to ratify it. In September, 36 Republican Senators signed a letter stating that they would oppose any treaties that came up for a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress. We will see now whether that promise holds.

    >>> Watch our new video on the Zombie Congress returning for the frightening lame-duck session

    Steven Groves, Heritage’s Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow, has explained that despite its name, the treaty will not help Americans with disabilities:

    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.

    For starters, the treaty doesn’t even define disabilities, but says that “disability is an evolving concept.” This is consistent with the nature of U.N. treaties, which often extend the organization’s reach beyond the original treaty concept. Groves writes:

    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 example, the U.N. committee that is supposed to make recommendations on racial discrimination tried to dictate to the United States how it should handle enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay and said the U.S. should end the death penalty. And the committee that oversees the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women regularly advocates that the U.S. decriminalize prostitution.

    The disabilities treaty could open the door for abortion advocates “to pressure the U.S. to liberalize its domestic abortion laws or policies governing foreign aid for family planning,” says Heritage’s Grace Melton. U.N. officials have already pointed to language in the treaty as helpful in expanding abortion.

    As if all of this weren’t enough, U.N. treaties are always aimed directly at Americans’ wallets. This one is no different. The cost of enforcing it is unknown. Not only does the treaty fail to define who would be considered disabled, but it also adds entitlements to whoever that may be. In addition to covering traditional civil rights, the treaty attempts to guarantee:

    certain economic, social, and cultural “positive rights,” such as the right to education, health, and “an adequate standard of living for [persons with disabilities] and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.”

    As is usually the case, the United States is already an example to the rest of the world in this area. This country has multiple major federal laws that protect Americans with disabilities, ensuring their access to services and their rights—in addition to the rights all Americans enjoy because of the Bill of Rights. No other country can begin to compete with the safeguards America has in place.

    Inviting the United Nations and other international groups to come in with authority over America’s treatment of its citizens would not help people with disabilities and would have many harmful—and costly—consequences.

    Learn more: Steven Groves’s testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    Quick Hits:

    • Joni and Friends, a group founded by quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada, came out against the U.N. disabilities treaty and urged people to “focus on enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act” and invest in global programs that provide spiritual and practical help.
    • After meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, Republican Senators said they were even “more troubled” about the Administration’s response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
    • A federal judge ruled yesterday that tobacco companies must advertise saying that they have deceived consumers about the dangers of smoking.
    • The number of protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square swelled to 100,000 as people continue protesting President Mohamed Morsi’s decree of sweeping powers for himself.
    • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party can’t filibuster bills. But how would he like it if the tables were turned? Heritage’s Brian Darling has a few ideas for conservatives to send Reid this message.
    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Morning Bell: Disabilities Treaty Just Another U.N. Power Grab

    1. glynnda says:

      Well, I saw a unanimous vote-in the Senate no less-to nullify the US from the ridiculous carbon tax for US airlines entering Europe…..maybe they will be smart about this one too. Let's hope the Republicans get some backbone on this one and fight it out if the Democrats are willing to go with it…..

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      When will the American people realize just how important Obama's reelection was to the implementation of Obama master plan to redistribute the wealth of this nation to the "have nots" in every other nation on earth? Through UN treaties such this, LOST, Small Arms, and others, Obama, with the support and assistance of his lackeys in Congress, along with the likes of Susan Rice and Hillary, are driving our free nation into a "One World Order', controlled not by Americans, but by socialist/communist bureaucrats worldwide.

    3. Daryn Kent-Duncan says:

      Why don't we stop supporting the United Nations? The few [possibly] useful things they do, such as UNICEF and the international post office can be done without this organization. It is destructive to us and to Israel, and none of the goals for which it was established have ever been, or ever could be, achieved. Why don't people face the evidence in front of their eyes instead of pretending the UN is doing, or ever could do, any good. I for one don't want my money used to support this corrupt organization.

      • ThomNJ says:

        UNICEF does well all right…for the people who manage it. They make a lot of money….or should I say, they take a lot of money.

    4. Albert Maslar says:

      ANY agreement by the US with the UN must be suspect as it will turn out to be an attack on American constitutional liberties an many other bad things for America, The UN should be served an eviction notice and bounced out of New York. Let the UN make it in one of their hundred member countries that are human rights violators where they will feel at home.

    5. toledofan says:

      It's just amazing that we would allow ourselves to be dictated to by the U.N. but I guess at the end of the day those on the left see this as their kumbia moment; their chance to make us look and act like everybody else. I'm sure there will be some bad things that will happen over the next four years that will test our resolve, we'll see how history will be unveiled. The last four years are an indication of what turning our backs on the world problems has created, so, now Obama and company will have to live with the consequences.

    6. rebo1941 says:

      Time for the US to get out of the UN entirely. The UN didn't build this country so we shouldn't submit ourselves the the UN distroying all that is good. If the US wants to contribute to humanitarian causes then let it be so we see the good in it. Not because some third world and/or communist countries dictate we should.

    7. Sweets says:

      Why would our government allow the UN to dictate policy to this country. The UN is not a ruling body and should not be making this type of policy for our country.

    8. Bobbie says:

      No thanks U.N. No one is asking for your help in this country except the President who just needs to gain some intelligence in common sense. If he wants to he will otherwise he shows himself incapable of the job of his predecessors and America doesn't' expect that.. You were hired in good faith by America where you've come to patronize faith in America and ignore to accommodate inhumanities around the world. Your work is favored in government control where government control is an insult to America(n's) dignity. Your work is not worth your pay that pay cuts would help avoid America's fiscal cliff the democrats are so worried about.

      Your power hunger will be fulfilled on the day of your judgment. We all have our day where no one is excused or made exception to. Not even Susan Rice.

    9. Debra says:

      The UN needs to stop messing with laws in America. How about they deal with countries that dont have laws to assist the disabled.
      UN get out of our laws, get out of our pockets and get out of our country.

    10. @Oilvewood says:

      I whole heartedly agree with Glynnda, as far as Republican backbone is concerned. Day after day, I see the weakening and caving in on various important issues. Anyway, I have tried to leave a call to Marco Rubio and his mailbox is already full…..let's hope all Americans get on the horn and get the message across. We do not need the U.N. and I never stop wondering why in the world we are supporting this worthless, yet dangerous establishment.

    11. Mjas says:

      It sure appears the writings in Revelations and other sources of one world order are coming to pass: the above article informs President intent to get passed a bill he wrote in 2009 to this affect…

    12. Don't you think it might be time for the USA to exit the UN? That organization has cost a lot of American dollars over the years. I am having a hard time coming up with any return on investment.

    13. Mike Haines says:

      Perhaps we should (also) consider the source of these several nations who would like us to pass this treaty. Those nations that don't treat the even the able bodied with dignity much less those with disabilities. Clean up your own yard before pointing fingers.

    14. BlueShadowII says:

      Bottom line: Get the UN out of the US and the US out of the UN. (Now how many times have you heard that? Expect to continue hearing it until it has been accomplished.)

    15. If individual Americans want to donate to foreigners , there are many non-government organizations that can accept and efficiently distribute aid . The ruling class should not have the right to seize our money and give it to foreigners .

    16. This is like good parents signing something agreeing to never abuse their children. –The implication says they are not good parents. And it also makes them subordinate to those who had them sign it.

    17. JohnL2 says:

      I trust abolutely NOTHING associated with the United Nations and would vote for the USA to remove itself (and its money) from the UN completely!

    18. Jeanne Stotler says:

      It is past time for the US A to get out ofthe UN, It is oney from USA that supports the UN and in turn he people coming from other countries, that work there, ignore traffic and parking laws an are exempt from fines. New York would benefit from thier absence and the USA would enefit as the money being sent t UN could be used at home. "Charity begins at home" it's time we tae care ofou constituants FIRST and others stART looking inward for ther own support. UN is a obsolete as League of Nations was under Wilson.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×