Last week, the United States joined over 140 countries in signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This move marks a significant shift in American foreign policy, the CRPD is the first international treaty that the US has been party to in nearly a decade.
The CRPD was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006. However, the U.S. did not sign the treaty at that time due to the Bush administration’s insistence that an international treaty would damage protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In contrast, the Obama administration used the 19th anniversary of the ADA to endorse the CRPD. "I'm proud of the progress we've made," Obama said. "But I'm not satisfied." The next stop for the CRPD is the US Senate, which will have to ratify the convention in order to make it binding US law.
Currently more than 650 million people worldwide, including 54 million Americans, live with a disability. Disability is not a partisan issue - it touches the lives of all people, regardless or race, age or gender. It is crucial that the United States Senate stand with the rest of the world to ensure the rights of all people are protected.
For more information on the CRPD, click here. For more information on disability rights in the U.S., click here.
Australia has unfortunately been known in recent times as the United State’s shadow, or my personal favorite; ‘Bush’s pocket warmer’, thus while I’m on board with the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights as an intern from Australia, I’m taking it upon myself to restore some dignity to the Australian image.
The most recent, glaring example of the sheep-shepherd relationship between Australia and the United States (respectively) was Australia’s entry into the Iraq War on the coattails of the Bush administration. The reasons for such vary according to which authority you approach, however there is at least one area in which Australia has undertaken a leadership role; the ratification of human rights treaties. This is especially true in regards to the seven core human rights treaties which are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant for Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
A U.N. representative recently concluded a three-week, eight-city tour of the United State to investigate claims of racial discrimination. The U.S. is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Disparity, an international treaty that protects citizens from all forms of racial discrimination. The Campaign recently testified before the U.N. and issued a shadow report highlighting our government’s failure to comply with its treaty obligations, and criticizing the continued rollback of civil rights.
The U.N. dispatched an emissary, Doudou Diène—who has one of the best civil service titles, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Race Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance—to check out our allegations.