ACTION ALERT: Ask your Senator to Ratify CRPD NOW!
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be holding a hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on Thursday, July 12, at 9:00 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50. This is an important treaty for our community and we need members of our community to write to their Senators urging them to ratify the CRPD.
Why is the CRPD important, when we already have civil rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), among others?
First, the ADA and other disability laws do not have deaf-specific language; the CRPD recognizes sign language and deaf culture as human rights, and includes language such as “deaf culture”, “linguistic identity”, and “deaf community.”
Secondly, should the CRPD be ratified, the CRPD will be a tool for developing new policy and strengthening policy guidance for deaf education and bilingual rights given the unique text in this treaty that focuses on deaf culture and linguistic identity of the deaf community.
Third, the U.S. is currently excluded from the International Committee formed to enforce the requirements of the CRPD throughout the world.
If the CRPD is ratified in the U.S., the U.S. will be able to join the global community in efforts to promote, protect, and ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The CRPD is a potential tool at hand for an extreme paradigm shift right here in America. Only upon ratification can we hope to implement the spirit and language of the CRPD in the U.S. Please take a moment to write a request for your Senator's support for the CRPD during the July 12th hearing.
Need to know how to contact your Senator? Visit this comprehensive list of all U.S. Senators, including yours! E-mail is best, as the deadline is quickly approaching (the hearing takes place this Thursday).
Below is a sample letter or e-mail to send to your Senator:
Re: Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
On May 17, 2012 the Senate received a treaty package for their advice and consent to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We, the undersigned, ask for your support for U.S. ratification of the CRPD.
Similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the principles of the CRPD include equality, non-discrimination, inclusion in society, accessibility, and respect for inherent dignity. Twenty two years ago on July 26th, President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA, calling for the “walls of discrimination to come tumbling down.” Since that time, the ADA has been model legislation for ending discriminatory practices throughout the world and a key inspiration for the CRPD.
One hundred and fourteen nations have ratified the CRPD, including important allies of the U.S. The treaty reflects core American values such as the dignity of the individual, access to justice, respect for the home and family, and the right to education. The CRPD is consistent with not only the ADA, but also with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and numerous other U.S. laws.
The CRPD seeks to ensure that countries across the globe provide people with disabilities the same rights as everyone else in order to live full, satisfying and productive lives. To this end, the CRPD will create greater access for Americans serving, working, traveling, and studying abroad. The treaty package submitted to the Senate this May includes reservations, understandings, and a declaration that allow the United States to meet the obligations of the treaty without requiring any costs or changes in law.
We, the undersigned, are committed to our country’s leadership in promoting the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities. We believe the ratification of the CRPD will allow the U.S. to continue in our global leadership on disability rights. We therefore urge the Senate to continue the bipartisan tradition of supporting the disability community by uniting in support of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
YOUR NAME HERE