Saturday, November 16, 2013

The CRPD and Timing

Gradually in some cases, but over all, people are seeing the power and value in ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Fears are being set aside or at least reduced, and the meaning of ratification of the CRPD is more widely understood. If all sides, in good faith, work to reach agreement on what we need to say about three things -- U.S. sovereignty, the best interests of the child, and access to health care -- all other reservations, understandings, and declarations (RUDs) from the resolution to ratify the CRPD that were approved last December in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (but were defeated by the full Senate) could be used again. To give you a frame reference  -- there were three reservations, eight understandings, and two declarations in the CRPD resolution last year.  So that means that much of the work is done, because on nine of the 12 RUDs there is no disagreement.

This means that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a manageable number of things to do and much of what they put in the report and resolution on the CRPD last year can be used again. We should use the time we have now wisely and efficiently.

I urge everyone to do what needs to be done -- look at text in other treaties, we have ratified, related to protecting U.S. sovereignty, it can be used in the new CRPD resolution. Talk to parents, who home school, about how to ensure their rights to home school are protected. And finally, look at the text of RUDs of other countries, which have ratified the CRPD, to see what it says about access to health care. We can find consensus if we take these actions.

We are so close. Let's work together to make ratification of the CRPD happen.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans' Day and the CRPD

I lost a brother, John, in Vietnam. He was 22. The U.S. has a long history of sending brave young people to restore or preserve the freedom of others. We recognize we are part of a world community. We believe in the principles of freedom, liberty, independence, and equal opportunity. We know when these principles are espoused and celebrated the world is a better place. We know the difference between saying something and doing something. It is no wonder that 20 veterans organizations support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). To them these principles are tangible and know no boundaries. To them, it is unpatriotic to say the Americans with Disabilities Act is all we need, not the CRPD.

We lose nothing if we ratify the CRPD. However, we gain a great deal. Our friends and allies will breathe a sigh of relief. Our detractors will know we are fully engaged in the business of promoting disability rights everywhere. Our credibility, commitment, and energy will be on display. There will be no doubt about where we stand and what our young military fight for.

For those who oppose the CRPD, please have the willingness to consider and share with those who support the CRPD, words about sovereignty, health care, and parents rights that eliminate your concerns. If you do then we can return to the longstanding bipartisan tradition that has been part of disability policy in the U.S. We can ratify the CRPD with well over 67 votes in the Senate. Vets and many other people are praying and watching to see that vote happen.

Thank you.
Common Grounder