Today, the United States Senate fell short of the votes needed to pass the resolution for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In doing so they have turned their backs on the American disability and veteran community. The coalition for ratification is very concerned that extremists in the Republican Party blocked a treaty that would protect people with disabilities, help our brave veterans, and would have maintained America's leadership on global disability rights.
“Egregious partisanship, the first of its kind with disability rights legislation, is what kept us from ratifying this treaty. And now egregious partisanship will cost us the respect of our closest global allies. We are battered but not broken. This fight is not over. People around the world count on us and we will not stop our tireless advocacy for them,” said former congressman from California, the Honorable Tony Coelho, lead sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act and current USICD board member.
The American disability and veteran community applauds the 61 courageous senators who stood up for the rights of their citizens. The Democrats and Independents were unified in their support for the treaty. We sincerely thank those Republicans who stood with us for their courage: Senators McCain, Barrasso, Brown, Collins, Ayotte, Snowe, Murkowski, and Lugar. As for the other 38 senators, who abandoned the very principles and values that this country was built upon by blocking the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – we will not let you forget this vote. Countless Americans with disabilities came together across the United States to support the cause of U.S. ratification of the CRPD.
“This campaign for ratification brought together a powerful coalition of over 300 disability and 21 veteran organizations, only to have 38 senators tell us that our rights, protections, and dignity are not important to them. We will forge newer, bigger, more vigorous alliances. We will redouble our efforts. This vote against me and my community is one you will not soon forget,” said USICD President Marca Bristo.
Not all is lost, however. The CRPD will continue to serve as the guide star for people with disabilities in countries around the world. Today, as a result of a grassroots advocacy and education campaign, Americans with disabilities have an increased awareness of this important human rights document and its promise to the world's one billion people with disabilities. This connection between Americans with disabilities and their global counterparts cannot be severed.
Contact: Esmé Grant
For more information on the CRPD or USICD visit www.usicd.org.