Last year, the United States Senate rejected a UN treaty calling for improved access and a better overall standard of living for people with disabilities around the globe. This year, the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee is slated to take a second look at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Will the U.S. join the 138 countries that have already ratified the convention?
President Barack Obama signed the treaty in July 2009, but Senate approval is necessary to finalize United States participation. Though the treaty enjoyed bipartisan support, Republican opposition kept the measure from obtaining the two-thirds majority needed for ratification last December.
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), the Heritage Foundation, and the Home School Legal Defense Association fear that the treaty could possibly compromise the nation’s sovereignty as well as limit options for people raising children.
A coalition of more than 700 disability, civil rights, veterans, faith, and business organizations are being urged to attend the upcoming hearing to reconsider the convention. Those supporting the bill say that the opponent’s claims are baseless, and that the convention would make protections similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act available globally without requiring changes to United States legislation.
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