Statement on Senate CRPD Vote

Mike Lee on the Senate FloorDREDF Deeply Disappointed by US Senate Opposition to Global Disability Rights Treaty

Despite the support of over 300 disability rights and veterans organizations, the US Senate failed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) today, with a final vote of 61 Senators in support and 38 Senators opposed. By not ratifying the Treaty, the US fails to advance the human rights principles it once championed in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the landmark disability civil rights law upon which the CRPD is largely based.

The US has a powerful role to play as a partner and ally in supporting the global human rights of people with disabilities. Our country provides an example of how our rights can be advanced. That our rights matter. The principle “nothing about us without us” is global.

“The loss of the CRPD has real effects on our lives as people with disabilities, and that includes people in the US. We travel, we work beyond US borders. Equally important, people with disabilities in other nations need an effective CRPD supported by a strong US role. The opposing Senators have disregarded our economic freedom today,” said Susan Henderson, DREDF Executive Director. “It’s critical that we renew our commitment to putting people with disabilities in positions of power so we can defeat this opposition in the future.”

The CRPD has been ratified by 126 other nations and has bipartisan support. The CRPD was derailed in the Senate by a lockstep block of 38 conservative Senators who falsely claimed that the Treaty would result in events that varied from a loss of US sovereignty to the loss of parental rights of children with disabilities.

The fight on this vote ended today but the disability community will continue to fight on.

DREDF thanks the 61 Senators who voted Yes and suggests community members join us in doing so by calling or contacting their respective legislators. Each deserves our strong encouragement to continue supporting the CRPD.

The next step involves the 38 Senators who voted No on human rights for people with disabilities both here at home and around the world. Let them know that we refuse to be treated like second class citizens.and that we vote.

A complete list of Senators and how they voted

The Senate Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

Read more about the reaction to the vote, including a quote from DREDF’s Rhonda Neuhaus, in Boston Globe article.