the advocacy monitor

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

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

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 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 [email protected]
  2. Jeff Flake (AZ): Colleen Donnelly [email protected]
  3. Barbra Boxer (CA): Ann Norris [email protected]
  4. Chris Murphy (CT): Tovan McDaniel [email protected]
  5. Chris Coons (DE): Halie Soifer [email protected]
  6. Marco Rubio (FL): Victor Cervino [email protected]
  7. Jim Risch (ID): Chris Socha [email protected]
  8. Dick Durbin (IL): Chris Homan [email protected]
  9. Rand Paul (KY): Rachel Bovard [email protected]
  10. Ed Markey (MA): Justin Slaughter [email protected]
  11. Ben Cardin (MD): Algene Sajery [email protected]
  12. Jeanne Shaheen (NH): Chad Kreikmeier [email protected]
  13. Robert Menendez (NJ): Margaret Taylor [email protected]; and Davina Burgess, [email protected]
  14. Tom Udall (NM): Matt Padilla [email protected]
  15. Bob Corker (TN): John Zadrozny [email protected]; and Sarah Downs [email protected]
  16. Tim Kaine (VA): Sergio Aguirre [email protected]
  17. Ron Johnson (WI): Lydia Westlake [email protected]
  18. John Barrasso (WY): Amber Bland [email protected]


Action Alert: National Call-In Days for the CRPD: November 4 & 11

CRPD Sticker: Ratify CRPD Yes!We need your help. The opposition is flooding Senate offices with calls against the treaty. They need to hear from our Movement now or we will not succeed.

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

We need you to call on November 4th and 11th so we can show the Foreign Relations Committee that the community is behind this treaty!

Visit the new citizen action portal at to find information on how to contact the target Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee by phone.

What Else You Can Do:

  • Download the CRPD sticker to share on your website, Facebook, and Twitter!
  • Forward this message onto your lists of friends and colleagues so they can join us in sending a message to the Foreign Relations Committee that we are watching them!
  • Attend the Hearing: CRPD Hearing in the United States Senate
    November 5th at 2:30 pm
    Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room SD-419

Action Alert: The Time to Act on the UN CRPD Is Now!

Ashton Rosin

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has officially scheduled the next hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for this Tuesday, November 5th at 2:30 pm Eastern in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419!

CRPD LogoAttending the Hearing

We must have an overwhelmingly strong presence from people with disabilities and advocates of the disability community at this hearing as a sign of our strength and determination in getting the CRPD ratified in the U.S. For those interested and able to attend the meeting, please RSVP now and spread the word! The accessible entrance for the Dirksen Senate Office Building is located at the 1st Street and C Street entrance.

Reaching out to your Senator

Your contribution is certainly not limited to attending the hearing. We can and must all take part! It is vital that we continue to call, email, and send letters to our Senators to show them how passionate we are about ratifying a fundamental document that asserts the human rights of people with disabilities. Make your voice heard by visiting and resending letters to your Senator in support of CRPD ratification.

Senator Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been receiving countless calls in opposition to the CRPD. We cannot let the CRPD be defeated by 5 votes again. NCIL Members in New Jersey, Senator Menendez’s home state, should call his office now to demonstrate their undying support for this extremely important effort! You can reach the Senator by contacting Margaret Taylor at [email protected] and Davina Burgess at [email protected].

We are calling on members of the Independent Living Movement who are constituents of Senators who sit on the Foreign Relations Committee to call their Senators now! You can find a list of their contact information at the bottom of this posting or visit the site of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for more information.

Target states: GA, TN, AZ. But, our full list of targets includes: TN, MS, OH, OK, AZ, GA, NE, WI, NE, MO, IN and AR.

Sign a Petition

Please continue to sign and disseminate petitions to your friends, family, peers, organizations, and fellow grassroots advocates. Currently, the following petitions are being circulated!  [Read more…]

Action Alert: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the Disability Rights Treaty Scheduled for Next Week!

Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has scheduled the first of two hearings on the CRPD for Tuesday, November 5th.

CRPD Sticker: Ratify CRPD Yes!Senator Menendez and Senator Bob Corker, the Committee’s Ranking Republican, need to hear from everyone. They are logging all calls and contacts made, state by state. Your participation will determine whether we achieve passage of the treaty.

The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) has launched a new Citizen Action Center to make it easier than ever for you to reach your Senator with the calls, letters, emails, petitions, and social media that will make the difference in this fight:

The Marathon is almost over. The end is in sight. Now is the time for our voices to be heard. Now is the time for the Senate to feel the power of our Movement. We demand ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities!

We must show the Foreign Relations Committee that we are a strong and diverse community that supports the treaty. Consider attending the hearing if you are able! We need a packed room to show the Foreign Relations Committee that the community is behind this treaty.  [Read more…]

Gearing Up! Two Ways You Can Help Support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Right Now

Student from Ghana holds CRPD support signThe fight to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is gearing up for another round, and we need every advocate ready.

  1. If you haven’t done so already, please sign and distribute the petition and ask every individual you know to do the same. If everyone shares this link, we can build an overwhelming number of signatures that cannot be ignored.
  1. Prepare your organization’s letter of support to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You can start fresh, brush up the letter you sent last year, or use the sample letter below to guide you as you craft your message. As soon as a hearing date is announced, we will begin a Letter Blitz in support of the Disability Treaty. Having your organization’s letter prepared will give us an advantage when the time to act comes quickly!  [Read more…]

UN Looks Forward to 2015 with Historic Disability-Inclusive Development Agenda

CRPD YES Sign - 2014 NCIL MarchBy Ashton Rosin, NCIL Policy Intern

On Monday, September 23rd, the United Nations General Assembly held a High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD) driven by the theme, “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”. As a precursor to the start of the general debate at the UN Headquarters in New York, the meeting proved historic as it became the first meeting in UN history where the rights of persons with disabilities have been discussed in terms of the framework of the UN’s political agenda.

The monumental establishment of such a meeting presents a significant opportunity to translate the commitment to an inclusive global society into tangible actions, on the ground changes, and concrete achievements by ensuring that disability becomes mainstream in the global agenda in the post-2015 development framework.  [Read more…]

Remember December: Sign the Petition and Let Your Voice Be Heard for the Disability Rights Treaty!

CNN Headline: Senate Kills U.N. Treaty on Disabilities; Senate Republicans strongly oppose the measure

December 4th, 2012 was a devastating day for the disability community when the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) lost by a mere five votes.

This summer, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Senator McCain, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and the community have all expressed their desire to see the treaty ratified.

When U.S. Senators return to their offices in DC, we are going to make sure that they know the treaty is important to the disability community and its allies and it is time to move it forward.


We can and we will get the treaty ratified in 2013 but we need you now. Join the petition to add your voice to the conversation. We’ll make sure that Senators see your support when it is delivered to them in September!

CRPD Twitter Campaign and the March on Washington  [Read more…]

Action Alert: Take Action on the Disability Treaty June 24-27 for Justin Dart!

CRPD Sticker: Ratify CRPD Yes!Source: US International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

“ADA is a landmark commandment of fundamental human morality. It prepares the way for the emancipation of more than half of a billion of the world’s most oppressed people.” Justin Dart, 1990

On the anniversary of the passing of a great American and leader, let us each honor Justin’s memory by calling our Senators and the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asking them to release the disability treaty and hold hearings!

The extreme right has started their campaign. Senator Harkin has already received over 100 calls opposing the treaty. Their campaign continues to spread the same misrepresentations and scare tactics to parents of children with disabilities. We need to stop the lies now. You are the key to putting an end to the attack on parents and the stalling of the disability treaty. [Read more…]

Policy Briefing: The Impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on Global Commerce and the International Accessibility Eco-System

When: June 5, 2013; 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.; Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419

The CRPD was inspired by the principles adopted by the United States Congress when it passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This international treaty is extending the spirit of the ADA and improving access and opportunity for people with disabilities throughout the world. During the 113th Congress, the U.S. Senate will consider ratification of this treaty.

This educational session will bring together members of Congress, thought leaders from industry, government, and the disability community. Leaders from the business community will discuss the impact of the CRPD on global commerce. Participants will learn from leading technology experts on how the treaty is impacting the international accessibility eco-system.  [Read more…]

The CRPD Truth Campaign: Answering the Opposition

CRPD Yes! 2012 signIf you were unable to attend the community leadership call on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) last week, you can view it on YouTube. The call featured Senator Tom Harkin, who called us to action!

Senator Harkin explained that “the number of calls that came into the Senate offices last year opposing the disability treaty outnumbered the ones that came in supporting it by a factor of 50 to 1. But we also know that the vast majority of the American people want this and support it.”

As USICD’s President Marca Bristo said on the call, “We’re calling upon our Senators to have the courage and the dedication to do what’s right… It’s seldom that people have a second opportunity to do the right thing.”

The Truth Campaign: Answering the Opposition

There are three main myths being spread about the treaty.

Sovereignty: Let your U.S. Senators know that you care about this treaty and tell them not to get fooled by the lies and misrepresentation of the leaders of the Home School Legal Defense Association. All human rights treaties passed by the U.S. Senate include the same RUD (a legally binding condition added to treaties to protect U.S. sovereignty) that is included in the CRPD.  U.S. sovereignty has not been affected by those treaties and will not be impacted by this treaty.

Abortion: There is nothing in this treaty that changes abortion rights in this country. It simply states that people with disabilities should have the same access to health care as people without disabilities. It is a statement of non-discrimination only – not a change in U.S. law or policy.

Homeschooling / parental rights: This is a non-discrimination treaty that does not change our law but confirms our commitment to disability rights and allows us to impact disability rights globally! That means NO changes to U.S. laws covering parental rights.  That means kids can still be homeschooled – nothing relating to homeschooling changes. Furthermore, the treaty supports people with disabilities and their right to live in the community among family and protects parents and children from separation on the basis of disability.  [Read more…]