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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Policy: Overview

NCIL members march to the Capitol carrying flags from every nation in support of CRPDStatus of the CRPD in the United States

The United States signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty in 2009 and transmitted it to the U.S. Senate for their advice and consent for ratification in May of 2012.

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) has led the community’s call for ratification (expressed by over 800 disability, faith, business, and veteran organizations), rallying Senate support, and working with leaders like Senator Bob Dole to ensure bipartisanship and secure the 2/3 Senate vote needed.

On December 4, 2012, the United States Senate considered the ratification of the CRPD but fell short of the super-majority vote required, much due to falsehoods spread by opponents of human rights treaties. In 2013, a new process in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was initiated and a resolution for ratification passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July 2014. Unfortunately, the Senate’s progress on the issue ended there, and no vote for ratification was called during the final 6 months of the 113th Congress.

Now in the 115th Congress, the CRPD must again be passed from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The national coalition for ratification, including our allies in the veterans, business, faith and civil rights communities, remains committed to ratification of the CRPD. As advocates from the local to national levels, we must continue to pursue opportunities to elevate the CRPD and the global disability community in the minds of policymakers and our constituents through education on the issues, inclusion of international perspectives in disability rights advocacy, and enforcing disability rights principles in U.S. foreign affairs. Each of us can play a role in educating ourselves and others. Each of us can let politicians know the treaty’s value, what it means to us, and why ratification is the best choice, especially if we want the U.S. to be the strongest voice in promoting disability rights around the world.

The Treaty Needs Our Commitment

Grassroots support will continue to be vital in order to ensure widespread Senate awareness of the one billion persons with disabilities in the world, our human rights, the need to tear down barriers and support freedom and inclusion of all people, and support the implementation of the Convention both in the United States and around the world. NCIL supports U.S. ratification of the CRPD, and will continue working with USICD and the coalition in this advocacy.

USICD offers a speakers bureau that connects CRPD presenters to diverse audiences. Anyone who is interested in a presentation on the treaty can contact David Morrissey dmorrissey@usicd.org to plan a presentation. Please consider including the CRPD in your organization’s work.

Updated: March 23, 2017.