All 50 US States Needed RIGHT NOW to Support International Disability Rights!

Posted on 28 July 2012. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , |

Author’s Note: The following post is slightly adapted from a note I posted in Facebook.

One billion people with disabilities live on Earth–and 54 million of us live in the United States. But throughout history, people with disabilities have often met profound challenges including the high risk of poverty, exclusion from opportunities to access an education or employment, violence, forced confinement in institutions, and more.

Thursday last week, July 26, 2012, was a historic date for those of us who are Americans with disabilities and for the people who are our friends, relatives, colleagues and other peers.  It was the 22nd anniversary that the world’s first disability civil rights legislation was passed–the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  But it also was the day that the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed to pass the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the full Senate for a floor vote.  In other words, we are now in a new and exciting phase of the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD.  This means that all 100 US senators will be asked to vote on if the US should ratify the CRPD.  We need a two-thirds majority–67 votes.  It is time for every US citizen who cares about the human rights of people with disabilities all around the world, including fellow Americans, to tell your Senators to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–even if you have already asked them.  Your calls, emails, and visits to your senators are absolutely vital.  Opponents of this important international treaty, which was inspired by our own ADA, have been spreading incorrect information to senators in an attempt to convince them to vote against the CRPD.  Your voices … our voices … are essential to telling senators that those of us who have disabilities, or who care about people who do, want them to support the CRPD.

The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.  Ask to be connected to your Senator’s office and call both Senators!

Or, you can find Senators’ contact information at this link:

Please remember to reach out to BOTH of the senators that represent your state.

Want to learn more about the CRPD and why the US should ratify? Visit a FAQ on the CRPD. Also learn the latest news about the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD, or look up which organizations support this treaty.

Sign on to a national letter for individuals and organizations in the US who support the CRPD–visit (scroll a little down the screen to the blurb entitled “Tony Coelho Calls on You to Sign a Letter of Ratification”).  At you will find a link to the full letter as well as links for individuals or for organizations to sign the letter.

After talking with your senators and signing the letter, please spread the word as widely as you can! Tell all your friends to do the same! We need as many people as we can talking to their senators!  Use Facebook, twitter, emails, phone calls … whatever works for you.

Thank you all for your help!

Author’s Note: To international friends outside the US: The fate of US ratification of the CRPD is going to be decided by US senators who ultimately represent the people who voted them into office, thus this call to action is meant to reach out to US citizens who care about the CRPD and who also have the power to influence the decisions of the senators who represent their interests in the US federal government.

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NEWS: Nepal signs disability rights treaty and protocol

Posted on 10 January 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Latest Development: Nepal signs the CRPD
Nepal became the most recent signatory to the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the accompanying optional protocol on January 3, 2008. A total of 121 countries have now signed the CRPD and 68 have signed the optional protocol. Most of these countries, however, have not yet ratified either.

Ratifying versus Signing a Treaty
Signing a treaty is not the same as ratifying it. A signatory country is not required to obey the treaty: it only needs to avoid actively violating it. A country does not become a “states party” to a treaty until they fully ratify it. Becoming a states party (ratifying a treaty) means the country agrees to be legally bound by the treaty.

The CRPD needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it can take full force; it has now been ratified by 14, including Bangladesh, Croatia, Cuba, El Salvador, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Mexcio, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, and Spain. The Optional Protocol needs to be ratified by 10 countries before it becomes enforceable; it has now been ratified by 7, including Croatia, Hungary, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, South Africa, and Spain.

Both the full list of ratifications and the full list of signatories are available on the web.

The Background: The CRPD and the Optional Protocol
The CRPD is an international human rights treaty meant to protect a range of rights for people with disabilties. A few examples include the right to liberty; to freedom from torture, violent exploitation, and abuse; to healthcare; to education; to privacy; to sign contracts; to accessible public transit and public accommodations.

Although several other international human rights treaties are already in force–most famously, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights–many of these treaties do not mention disabled people at all. The few that do usually do not cover their right to full participation in society.

The Optional Protocol gives people who have suffered human rights violations another option for pursuing justice. In countries that only ratify the CRPD without the Optional Protocol, a person who feels their rights under the treaty have been violated can use the appropriate channels within their country to correct that violation. For example, they may be able to file a complaint with local or national legal authorities or bring a lawsuit through the courts. But if all national-level systems fail to achieve justice, then the Optional Protocol allows a person to pursue redress by applying to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For more background on the CRPD, consult a FAQ written by the organization RatifyNow. More information about the CRPD is also available at the United Nations web site on disabilities.

Individuals and organizations seeking to join the global movement to maximize the number of countries ratifying the CRPD and the Optional Protocols may wish to join the organization RatifyNow. Individuals may also participate in email-based discussions on the global movement by joining the RatifyNow Listserve.

We Can Do learned about Nepal becoming a signatory via an announcement sent out by Ghulam Nabi Nazimani.

Catch up on the latest news about the CRPD and other topics.

This blog post is cross-posted both here and at RatifyNow with permission of the author.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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