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Urge Senate to Ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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May 24, 2012

un_logoIn May, President Obama officially sent the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the Senate for ratification. The Convention, which is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, aims to improve circumstances related to housing, transportation, education, and health care for the roughly 650 million who live with disabilities worldwide.

Will you write to your Senators and urge them to ratify the treaty?

People with disabilities constitute America’s largest minority group. It is a very diverse population, comprised of people from every ethnicity, age group, race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. It is also the only minority that anyone might become part of at any time.

According to Wendy  Taormina-Weiss, writing in Disabled World, ”millions of Americans with Disabilities are deprived of their rights, despite legal protections related to us, due to a lack of awareness and failure to provide us with reasonable accommodations in a number of areas. Persons with disabilities in this nation continue to face considerable levels of discrimination related to employment, services, education, and additional areas.”

In its preamble, the Convention recognizes “that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.” This echoes the first principle of Unitarian Universalism, which calls us to support efforts that would curb any such violation.

Although the Obama administration signed the Convention in 2009, it still requires ratification from the Senate in order to carry the force of law. Disability advocates are calling upon the government to act now, since the U.S. will not be eligible to join the inaugural leadership committee that will oversee the convention if the Senate does not approve the treaty before September.

“The rights of Americans with disabilities should not end at our nation’s shores,” Obama wrote in his request to the Senate. “Ratification of the disabilities convention by the United States would position the United States to occupy the global leadership role to which our domestic record already attests.”

Please lift up your voice on this important issue by writing to your Senators today and urging them to ratify the treaty.

2 Responses to “Urge Senate to Ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”

  1. Carolyn Cartland says:

    This is an important and historic event. Many thanks to Dan and everyone associated with SSL for highlighting its significance and creating an action campaign around it.

    As is so eloquently described above, the treaty focuses on increasing the rights and improving the quality of life for the 650 million people with disabilities in the world, recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of each of us.

    We in Equual Access encourage everyone to write your senators as shown above (it could not be easier!) and request they ratify the treaty this summer.

    In addition to writing your senators, please also work with your congregational social justice groups so that our voices will be heard loud and clear. This is an effort that should unify all of us committed to equality for all.

    Carolyn Cartland
    Equual Access

  2. Mary Ann Calzada says:

    NO NO NO! We do not want decisions for Americans made by the UN! This convention is written with an incredible amount of latitude and gives the UN the ability to legislate law on US soil.

    Do you want Americans making decisions for Americans or do you want someone in the Hague who is completely disconnected from you and has no allegiance or accountability to you whatsoever in an electoral process telling you what to do?

    This gives sweeping control to the UN. As a parents of TWO children with special needs, I want to make the decisions and not someone 3,000 miles away.

    These protections already exist in the Americans with Disabilities Act. State sovereignty as it pertains to disability law will be taken away and given to the UN.

    People are jumping the gun thinking that this is good – for 3rd world countries with no disability laws, possibly but for the US it is NOT going to make things better.

    Do you want the UN to decide your child’s special education program? Decide on what is best for their care and medical well-being?

    Take a look at the resolution and look at the far-reaching ramifications it could have due to the weak language.

    Do NOT support this with your Senators!

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