The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has joined with the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) in sending a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking for their support of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international human rights instrument drafted and adopted by the United Nations in 2006 to assist with the attainment of human rights and equality worldwide. While the United States signed the treaty in 2009, it has not yet been approved by Congress for ratification. However, on July 26, 2012, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution of advice and consent supporting the Convention by a bipartisan vote of 13 to 6, hopefully signifying progress in the journey to ratify the CRPD. The CRPD has already been ratified by one hundred and seventeen countries, including important allies of the United States. The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would not only be a crucial step to ensuring that millions of Americans are able to live satisfying and fulfilling lives, but would also be an expression of the United States’ continued dedication to and support of global equality.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was drafted to ensure persons with disabilities across the globe are able to access resources that facilitate their well-being and participate fully in society. The CRPD, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), exemplifies principles such as equality, non-discrimination, full inclusion in society, accessibility, and respect for individuals’ dignity. The CRPD is not only highly compatible with ADA, but with other laws designed to protect the interests of persons with disabilities, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Convention presents a broad and inclusive definition of disability, including both mental and physical disabilities, and recognizes the diversity and self-determination of the individuals which it protects. Important provisions of the CRPD focus on discrimination, accessibility, employment, the right to inclusive education, and the right to an adequate standard of living.