CONTACT: Lena Parsons, for Access Living

Senator Reid Brings the CRPD to the Senate Floor

Chicago— On Monday, November 26, U.S. Senator Reid expressed his intention to proceed with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Senate Executive Session on Tuesday. On November 27, the Senate voted to proceed with the Convention. Access Living applauds Senator Reid's leadership on this issue and urges all U.S. Senators support the treaty in order to improve accessibility for Americans around the world and enable the United States to continue its leadership on disability issues.

“Ratification of the CRPD is the next advance in the bipartisan march towards increasing the freedom of all Americans with disabilities,” said former congressman, the Honorable Tony Coelho, lead sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) board member. USICD is leading the effort to build support of the treaty from organizations nationwide.

Access Living is one of more than 300 disability organizations, 21 veteran organizations, and 30 faith organizations that support ratification of the CRPD. The CRPD is also supported by a bipartisan group of senators who share the goal of increasing accessibility for Americans with disabilities – including veterans – who live, work and travel abroad. On July 26, 2012, the 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed their support for this goal when they delivered an overwhelming and bipartisan Committee vote for ratification of the CRPD.

“This treaty is good for people with disabilities in the United States, good for people with disabilities around the world, and good for United States Policy,” said Marca Bristo, President & CEO of Access Living and Board Chair for USICD. “We applaud Senator Reid for taking the treaty to the Senate Floor and we applaud Illinois Senator Durbin for his support of people with disabilities.” Senator Durbin is the lead Democratic Sponsor of the treaty.

Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, also a parent of a child with a disability, have confirmed that no changes in U.S. law will be required to comply with the treaty.

In addition to every major disability and veteran's organization, the United States Chamber of Commerce and key leaders in America's historic bipartisan disability rights movement supports the treaty, including Senator Bob Dole and President George H.W. Bush. Access Living urges the U.S. Senate to expeditiously consider and approve ratification of the treaty.

Established in 1980, Access Living is a non–profit, Chicago–based disability rights and service organization that provides individualized, peer–based services for people with disabilities. With a strong influence in public policy and social reform, Access Living is committed to challenging stereotypes, protecting civil rights and breaking institutional and community barriers.

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Established in 1980, Access Living is a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully–engaged and self–directed lives. Nationally recognized as a leading force in the disability advocacy community, Access Living challenges stereotypes, protects civil rights and champions social reform.