The New York Times recently reprinted this article explaining the importance and impact of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).
132 nations have ratified this Convention. The United States is not one of them.
More than 200 million people around the world have intellectual disabilities, comprising the world’s largest disability population, yet they remain amongst the most discriminated, disenfranchised and marginalized people on earth.
Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Dr. Tim Shriver says “The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities establishes international standards regarding the rights and freedoms of people with disabilities and creates a common basis for greater civic and political participation and self-sufficiency. The Convention reflects core American values and core Special Olympics values regarding the dignity of the individual, equal and fair access to justice, access to health care, and the chance to participate fully in the life of the community and the country.”
The CRPD seeks the same goals the United States had in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) twenty-two years ago: to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, inclusion and integration in all aspects of society. Our nation’s leadership in enacting the ADA served as a beacon of hope to people around the world and offered a strategy that other nations could emulate.
What makes the CRPD revolutionary it that it is the first legally binding instrument to address the rights of persons with disabilities with particular regard to sport (see Article 30.5 of the Convention).
By ratifying the CRPD, the United States would reaffirm its leadership position by establishing and protecting the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities.
Dr. Tim Shriver: “By providing positive advice and consent for ratification, the Senate has the power to underscore and ensure our global leadership in disability rights, and more importantly, improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people with disabilities worldwide and enable them to make important contributions to society.”
Medical, educational, housing, legislative and cultural barriers for people with intellectual disabilities are real and often fortified by governmental and institutional policies. The United States can and should claim leadership in this global dignity revolution.
Very soon — most likely this month — the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold Hearings on the subject and the United States Senate will vote on whether or not to ratify the CRPD.
We Need Your Help!
We’re asking everyone who cares about the rights, dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities to e-mail, call, Tweet and Facebook their U.S. Senators NOW with one simple request: to vote for the CRPD when it comes to the Floor of the Senate.
Make your voice heard on behalf of those who are too often silenced!
Sample Messages: We encourage you to use the following sample messages when contacting your Senators.
“Senator, I am a constituent from your state and I support the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (or CRPD). I look to you to support ratification of the CRPD. The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is in the United States’ interests, protects our disabled citizens and veterans abroad, and honors the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
As your constituent, I urge you to support the ratification of the CRPD & honor people with disabilities. Use hashtag: #CPRD
Facebook Post or Email:
Please urge Senators Menendez and Corker to hold hearings on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and when it comes to a vote on the Senate Floor please vote for ratification of this Convention. By providing positive advice and consent for ratification, the Senate will underscore and ensure our global leadership in disability rights, and more importantly, improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people with disabilities worldwide and enable them to make important contributions to society.