Advocates Push For U.S. Support Of U.N. Disability
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 20, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC--Disability rights supporters in the United States are being asked to contact Congressional leaders, along with their own Congressional delegations, to urge them to support a United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
A multi-national Working Group on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities met at the first of this year to draft the treaty which addresses equal rights, education, accessibility, independent living, employment, the rights of children with disabilities, and full participation of people with disabilities in society.
The Bush administration announced last June that the U.S. government would not sign any international treaty protecting people with disabilities from discrimination. Administration officials said such rights should be covered by national measures, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the U.S. would support the work or the panel, the administration said it would not sign any document that could be legally binding.
The World Committee on Disabilities, which is the international arm of the National Organization on Disability, is hoping to reverse the administration's position by the time the U.N. General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee meets to finalize the treaty's draft May 24.
The advocates are campaigning to get House Majority Leader Tom Delay to schedule a floor vote on House Concurrent Resolution 169. The measure would call for the U.S. to support the Convention and to send a delegation of people with disabilities to the Ad Hoc Committee's meeting.
The World Committee is also stressing that advocates need to contact Senator Richard Lugar and Senator Joseph Biden of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to urge them to act on Senate Concurrent Resolution 52, which is identical to the House bill.
The United Nations reported in December that 600 million people around the world have disabilities and that 25 percent of the global population is affected by disability in one way or another.
Ad Hoc Committee On International Convention (United Nations)
World Committee On Disability
House Concurrent Resolution 169 (U.S. House of Representative)
Action Alert! Help Get U.S. to Support U.N. Convention