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