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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Call to Action: Senator Corker Abandons Disability Community; Walks away from Negotiations

Bob CorkerNCIL is saddened to report that Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) walked away from the negotiations on the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

He caved to the extreme far right and abdicated his leadership on this bipartisan issue.

Senator Corker made the judgment that the disability community is less powerful than the Astroturf special interest groups pedaling lies against the CRPD. If we do not correct that notion, he will be right.

It is time to hold him responsible. It’s time to let Senator Corker know that we won’t be cast aside like second class citizens.

We will not stand idly by as he hides behind false constitutional arguments. We will hold him responsible for perpetuating far rights myths, lies, and exaggerations.

We are Independent Living. When it comes to protecting the human rights of people with disabilities, we don’t forget and we don’t forgive. We are 57 million strong!

Act Now

Call Senator Corker’s DC and Tennessee offices. You can contact Senator Corker at 202-224-3344, or at john_zadrozny@foreign.senate.gov.

He must hear our message loud and clear: Restart the negotiations! Let him know that we will not go away!

Please help spread the word by forwarding this message onto your lists of friends and colleagues so they can join us in sending a message to Senator Corker.

 

Lump of CoalSenator Corker’s Christmas Gift to One Billion People with Disabilities: A Big Lump of Coal

Source: US International Council on Disabilities (USICD)

Before heading home to spend the holidays with his family, Senator Bob Corker sent a message to the 57.8 million Americans with disabilities, 5.5 million disabled American veterans, and one billion people worldwide with disabilities: appeasing the far-right wing of his caucus is more important than supporting their rights and dignity by supporting the Disability Treaty.

Inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities, the Disability Treaty is designed to be a framework for creating laws and policies throughout the world that support the rights and dignity of the billion people worldwide living with disabilities. Ratification of the treaty is supported by a strong and diverse coalition of over 800 disability organizations, veterans groups, business groups, and faith organizations, as well over one thousand Tennesseans who recently signed a petition calling on the Senate to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.

Marca Bristo, President of the US International Council on Disabilities expressed disappointment with Senator Corker’s decision not to support the treaty: “I am shocked and dismayed that Senator Corker would abruptly cut off negotiations surrounding this crucial treaty and fail to support it. Doing so is a betrayal of the millions of Americans with disabilities, professionals, people of faith, and veterans who both need and want the Disability Treaty to be ratified. Our community is strong and committed, and we will continue to press forward in our work to support this treaty.”

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, added, “By caving to the most extreme isolationists in our nation, Senator Corker has undermined the United States’ reputation as a beacon of freedom for the world. The U.S. is a model for the advancement of transparency and human rights for all, and today’s statement by Senator Corker puts that status in considerable jeopardy. Conspiracy theories about how the CRPD would undermine American sovereignty are not based in reality, but only in the rhetoric of those who wish to fear monger and build walls between us and the rest of the world.  We strongly urge Senator Corker to join the mainstream and to honor the dignity of all Americans by reconsidering this position.”

Heather Ansley, Vice President of VetsFirst, said, “Despite assertions to the contrary, ratification of the CRPD will not endanger U.S. sovereignty. We must not let misinformation limit equal opportunities for veterans and all people living with disabilities. By failing to support CRPD, Senator Corker is failing to support the millions of disabled American veterans who fought bravely in service of this country and its Constitution. To use that very Constitution as a reason not to support the treaty is a betrayal of their service.”

Empowerment through Accessibility: International Development of Durable Medical Equipment

Ashton Rosin

Full Community Integration Now 2009 protest signDavid Constantine, this year’s winner of the Guardian International Development Achievement Award, has brought attention to the rampant exclusion of the 80% of people with mobility issues in developing countries that do not have suitable wheelchairs. Fueled by his own experience with disability, Constantine translated his intimate understanding of the vital importance of an appropriate wheelchair into action in the developing world, establishing a campaign to create wheelchairs specialized for people with disabilities in developing countries.

Beyond the extreme poverty faced by the millions of people living with disabilities in developing countries, mobility issues and a lack of accessibility faced by those without wheelchairs result in exclusion from educational and employment opportunities and society as a whole, isolating people with disabilities and stunting their abilities to be productive members of the community. Wheelchairs therefore serve as one of the cornerstones of independent living possibilities for people with disabilities in developing countries.

In recognizing how people with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable in the world, Constantine notes that “being disabled in a developing country is tough enough as it is, and people need the best. A good part of that is getting equipment that is suitable for them, to allow them to fulfill their lives in the way they hope to.” He therefore committed himself to designing wheelchairs that not only look good, are comfortable, well-functioning, but are wheelchairs that people can be proud of.  [Read more…]

Supporting CRPD In Social Media

NCIL Policy Intern Ashton Rosin holds the sign - I am a student, I am an advocate, I support CRPD RatificationNCIL Policy Intern Ashton Rosin shows support for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Her sign reads “I am a student. I am an advocate. I support CRPD Ratification.” Join the fun and advance the discussion by posting your own pictures with reasons that you support CRPD to the NCIL and USICD Faceebook pages!

Action Alert: Second CRPD Hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Call Now & Watch Live!

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold its second hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) tomorrow, November 21 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50.

Members of the Foreign Relations Committee need to hear from the Independent Living Movement now, or we will not succeed. The target senators need to hear from you continually to understand that the community supports ratification of the CRPD and wants the process to keep moving forward.

Act Now

  • CRPD LogoVisit the citizen action portal at disabilitytreaty.org to call Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee who have not yet committed to supporting the disability treaty.
  • Webcast: This hearing is scheduled to be live webcast. Visit the hearing web page to view the hearing live at the specified date and time. We also anticipate that the hearing will be broadcast on C-SPAN.
  • RSVP: If you plan to attend the hearing in person, please RSVP. This will help us tell the Committee that the disability community is behind this treaty.
  • Share the CRPD icon on your website, Facebook, and Twitter!
  • Please share this message with your networks so they can join us in sending a message to the Foreign Relations Committee: the world is watching!
  • Thank you for your continued dedication to this important issue. Together, we will ratify the CRPD!

Second CRPD Hearing in the US Senate: Thursday, November 21!

The second hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been rescheduled for this Thursday, November 21 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50. Secretary of State John Kerry will be a witness in this important hearing, among others.

You made a difference! NCIL thanks everyone who attended the November 5th hearing, and the advocates nationwide who called, wrote, and used social media to send a clear message to the Committee!

Based on your incredible show of support, Chairman Menendez has scheduled the second hearing in a larger room to ensure that advocates can be present and show the Committee their support in person.

Take Action

Senators Menendez and Corker and the other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee need to continue to hear that you support the CRPD, so they  understand that the disability community is behind this treaty and wants the process to keep moving forward.

They need to hear from the Independent Living Movement now, or we will not succeed. Visit the citizen action portal at  disabilitytreaty.org to call the target Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee. You can also contact Senator Corker at 202-224-3344 and Senator Menendez at 202-224-4744.  [Read more…]

CRPD Hearing Delayed: Your Calls Needed Today!

Due to scheduling conflicts, the second hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which had been scheduled for today, has been delayed. NCIL will distribute updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Special thanks are in order for those who attended the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s first hearing on the CRPD, and to the NCIL advocates nationwide who called, wrote, and used social media to spread the word and help build support for our cause.

CRPD YES Sign - 2014 NCIL MarchThis is a marathon – not a sprint – and we must keep pressure on!

We need your help for a Call-In Day today, November 12, 2013 to show the Foreign Relations Committee that the community is behind this treaty.

Senators Menendez and Corker and our target senators on the Foreign Relations Committee still need to hear from you and know that you support the CRPD!

  • Senator Corker at 202-224-3344
  • Senator Menendez at 202-224-4744  [Read more…]

You’re Invited: White House Conference Call on the Disabilities Treaty

The White House will host a conference call on the Disabilities Treaty today, Friday, November 8th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

Speakers will include:

  • CRPD Sharable Image - Time to Pass CRPDAmbassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
  • Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Judith E. Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, State Department

Dial-In Number & RSVP:

Please note: This call is off the record and not intended for press purposes. NCIL is not involved in the organizing of this call, so please direct all questions to the White House.

Social Media Guide for CRPD Treaty Ratification

"I call for solidarity among all who love justice, all who love life, to create a revolution that will empower every single human being to govern his or her life, to govern the society and to be fully productive of life quality for self and for all." – Justin Dart #ISupportCRPDSource: The Leadership Conference Education Fund

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international human rights treaty that seeks to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities around the world. The CRPD was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities, particularly with the adoption in 1990 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This social media guide on CRPD is meant to help you and your organization educate, equip, encourage, and empower local partner organizations and coalitions, activists, and communities to take action. And it’s a way for you to take part in global conversations related to the work we are doing to ratify CRPD.

Facebook

Engage your network of friends, family and community! Use the platform to educate, encourage and mobilize your network into action. Check out the sample Facebook posts, short links and sharable images below.

Sign the petition: The Senate needs to fight for the 57.8 million Americans with disabilities, 5.5 million American veterans with disabilities, and the 1 billion people with disabilities around the world and vote to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PDF). Take action by signing this petition to let your Senators know that you support the treaty!

Contact your Senator: The Disability Treaty, or the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities. US ratification would signal a commitment to bettering the lives of 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide! Take action now, tell your senators via phone, email, or tweet that #ISupportCRPD! Visit the Action Center to learn more.  [Read more…]

Watch Live Right Now: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Considers CRPD

Watch the hearing live at 2:30 p.m. Eastern today, November 5, 2013! The hearing will be broadcast on television on CSPAN, or you can stream it from the Committee’s website or at www.foreign.senate.gov.

Your Help Needed: Act Now!

The opposition is flooding Senate offices with calls against the treaty You can still call members of the Foreign Relations Committee – even during the hearing!

Senators Menendez and Corker and other members of the Foreign Relations Committee need to hear from you today to know that you support the CRPD! Visit the Action Center at disabilitytreaty.org or contact Senators Menendez (202-224-4651) and Corker (202-228-3612) directly.

Please share this alert with your networks so that we send a powerful message to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

CRPD Action Alert: Our Time Is Now – Call the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Today!

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) tomorrow, November 5th at 2:30 pm Eastern.

Act Today

  • CRPD Sticker: Ratify CRPD Yes!Contact members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. Contact email addresses for Senate staff members handling the CRPD is provided below. Visit the Action Center at disabilitytreaty.org to find information on how to contact Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee by phone.
  • Please be sure to contact Senator Menendez (D-NJ; Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Senator Corker (R-TN; Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), especially if you reside in New Jersey or Tennessee.

Other Ways to Help

  • Attend the hearing (RSVP) or watch the live webcast
  • Sign and distribute a petition
  • Share this message on Facebook (copy and paste the URL of this page in your browser)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Contacts

  1. John McCain (AZ): Chris Brose Christian_Brose@mccain.senate.gov
  2. Jeff Flake (AZ): Colleen Donnelly Colleen_donnelly@flake.senate.gov
  3. Barbra Boxer (CA): Ann Norris ann_norris@boxer.senate.gov
  4. Chris Murphy (CT): Tovan McDaniel tovan_mcdaniel@murphy.senate.gov
  5. Chris Coons (DE): Halie Soifer halie_soifer@coons.senate.gov
  6. Marco Rubio (FL): Victor Cervino victor_cervino@rubio.senate.gov
  7. Jim Risch (ID): Chris Socha chris_socha@risch.senate.gov
  8. Dick Durbin (IL): Chris Homan chris_homan@durbin.senate.gov
  9. Rand Paul (KY): Rachel Bovard Rachel_Bovard@paul.senate.gov
  10. Ed Markey (MA): Justin Slaughter Justin_Slaughter@markey.senate.gov
  11. Ben Cardin (MD): Algene Sajery algene_sajery@cardin.senate.gov
  12. Jeanne Shaheen (NH): Chad Kreikmeier chad_kreikemeier@shaheen.senate.gov
  13. Robert Menendez (NJ): Margaret Taylor Margaret_Taylor@foreign.senate.gov; and Davina Burgess, Davina_Burgess@foreign.senate.gov
  14. Tom Udall (NM): Matt Padilla matthew_padilla@tomudall.senate.gov
  15. Bob Corker (TN): John Zadrozny John_Zadrozny@foreign.senate.gov; and Sarah Downs Sarah_Downs@foreign.senate.gov
  16. Tim Kaine (VA): Sergio Aguirre Sergio_Aguirre@kaine.senate.gov
  17. Ron Johnson (WI): Lydia Westlake Lydia_Westlake@ronjohnson.senate.gov
  18. John Barrasso (WY): Amber Bland amber_bland@barrasso.senate.gov