What We Are Trying to Accomplish: Ratification (passage) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (known as the “Disability Treaty”) because it is the best way to remove barriers and discrimination against people with disabilities throughout the world.
Why It’s Important: American leadership is needed worldwide in setting standards around disability technology and devices. Only with ratification of the treaty will America ensure a ‘seat at the table’ as these worldwide standards are being established. U.S. leadership on disability rights at an international level will lead to a more accessible world where Americans with disabilities—including veterans—will have increased independence to continue to work, serve, study, live or travel abroad. Ratification of the Disability Treaty will also reduce barriers for persons with disabilities through changing attitudes and perceptions around the world.
Updates: In December 2012, the U.S. Senate voted on but failed to pass the Disability Treaty by a narrow margin. In 2013, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held two hearings on the treaty that had overflowing audiences. Currently, negotiations are underway on amendments to the treaty (known as reservations, understandings, and declarations or “RUDs”) in order for the Foreign Relations Committee to take action. To be successful, six more U.S. Senators need to announce support of the treaty. The goal is to secure that support in the next several months in order to have a vote by the full Senate on the anniversary week of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July.