The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a treaty that was agreed to by the United Nations (U.N.) in December 2006. Member nations worked on the CRPD for six years. After the U.N. adopts a treaty each nation engages in a two-step process. First, the head of a country or a person he or she designates must sign the treaty. Second, the legislative body (the group that makes laws for a country) must vote on it (ratify it). So far 133 nations have completed this two-step process. The U.S. has completed step one. Only the Senate, not the House of Representatives, needs to vote on ratification. The Senate had a vote in December 2012 on the CRPD. It did not pass. Because we have a new Congress the Senate will have an opportunity to vote on the CRPD again. Many people would like a vote before the Senate takes a break for Thanksgiving in 2013.
I support ratification of the CRPD. So do many other people. The CRPD is based on many of the principles in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became law in 1990. The ADA and the CRPD prohibit discrimination on the basis of a disability.
Many other people do not support ratification of the CRPD. They think it is unnecessary because we have the ADA. Some others think it is dangerous, because it would interfere with how our government works.
The purpose of this blog is lay out in more detail how the two sides – those for and against – think about ratification of the CRPD. By doing so, I hope everyone will develop a fuller understanding of the various points of view. I also hope that bipartisan groups of Senators will emerge and offer amendments to clarify what the CRPD means and does not mean in the U.S. If this happens I believe the Senate will ratify the CRPD.