The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was drafted and adopted by the United Nations in 2006 to assist with the attainment of human rights and equality worldwide. Using the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a guide, the CRPD provides a foundation for countries to enact and enforce legislation that recognized the rights of all people with disabilities. The Convention is highly compatible 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. It 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.
On July 30, 2009, the US signed the CRPD but has since failed to vote on it for formal ratification. To date, 126 nations have already ratified the CRPD and if Congress fails to pass this ratification, the US risks appearing uncommitted to the international standards for disability rights. The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities not only be would 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 US’ continued dedication to and support of global equality.
The Convention was passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July with bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that the Convention will receive a vote in the Senate tomorrow, December 4, 2012 and NASW is encouraging its members to contact their Senators today and tomorrow and ask them to vote for the passage of the CRPD without any amendments.