The United States Senate may soon revive a controversial United Nations Treaty, which focuses on governmental policy regarding disabled people. The treaty was rejected last year due to Republican opposition. Though assured the treaty would not affect current laws, many feared that it would threaten U.S. sovereignty and parental rights.
“I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society,” Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said, claiming the treaty carried extra regulations in addition to its anti-discrimination policies.
Article 7(2) of the treaty, which is also known as The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, states this: “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” Article 18(2) requires that “Children with disabilities shall be registered immediately after birth.”
Members of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) lobbied against the treaty. “They realized this wasn’t about disabilities issue, this was about who was going to make decisions for children with disabilities,” HSLDA director Will Estrada said.
Others, such as Senator John Kerry (D-MA), disagreed. “What this treaty says is very simple. It just says that you can’t discriminate against the disabled,” Kerry said.
According to the UN, 133 countries have ratified the CRPD treaty. President Obama says it is now time for the US to follow suit.
“I know how disappointing it was last year when the Senate failed to approve the disabilities treaty,” Obama explained at a Disabled American Veterans convention. “But we’re going to keep fighting to ratify that treaty. It’s the right thing to do.”
With more than 300 disability organizations backing the treaty, its supporters insist on its necessity. They claim that it is not about changing American law or behavior, but instead getting the rest of the world to raise their standards to meet ours.
“It’s about getting the rest of the world to raise their disability standards for the treatment of people with disabilities—and raise them to our level,” Kerry said in a video message. “In four simple words, the treaty says to other countries that don’t protect the rights of disabled people: Be more like us.”
The date for reconsideration is set for Tuesday, November 5, 2013.
– Samantha Davis