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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

You’re Invited: Community Leadership Call for the CRPD with Special Guest Senator Tom Harkin!

Student from Ghana holds CRPD support signSource: USICD / DREDF

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) invite you to a community leadership call on Thursday, May 16th, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss the status and plan for impending hearings on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international disability rights treaty.

In 2012, over 350 disability organizations were involved in calling for the ratification of the CRPD by the U.S. Senate to support the rights, dignity, and equality of people with disabilities around the world.  In December, the Senate failed to ratify the treaty, missing the super-majority by only five votes.  The treaty has returned as a Senate priority in 2013 and support for ratification is only growing, with over 500 disability organizations and 22 veteran service organizations joined together for ratification.

This convening is meant to update the community on the treaty’s status and to discuss ways that the community can come together for the dignity of the disability community in the U.S. and abroad.  [Read more…]

The CRPD Campaign: Ready for Success in 2013!

CRPD LogoSource: USICD and DREDF

After a narrow but sad defeat in the Senate last December, the disability community remains determined to see the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) ratified in 2013! Your voices were essential to achieving the positive vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and brining the CRPD to a vote on the Senate floor.

Outlook: The outpouring of media support for the treaty, in addition to the commitment of senators to reconsider their “no” votes, has reinvigorated our efforts. Disability and civil rights leaders, veterans, parents of children with disabilities, and self-advocates are gathering in their states now to urge their senators’ support for the disability treaty this year. Advocates in the states where senators have indicated that they will reconsider their votes are meeting with the senators’ staff to talk to them about the importance of ratification. They are calling for hearings on the treaty in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this spring, so that by summer we can have a vote on the Senate floor.  [Read more…]

CRPD Media Coverage

CRPD Coverage Screenshot ADAPT protestsThe Senate rejection of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities received major coverage yesterday, especially on MSNBC. Here are some highlights.


NCIL Statement on Senate Rejection of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied sign at the 2012 ConferenceYesterday the US Senate denied ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The day started in the Hart Senate Office Building, where disability advocates from around the world gathered to honor Senator Bob Dole. The program was filled with current and retired Senators who came to say ‘thank you’ to the 89 year old Republican Senator from Kansas. The room was packed and speakers expressed hopeful statements of success for the day’s vote.

Many of the leaders who have supported ratification of CRPD were on hand to speak about Senator Dole’s work on disability advocacy, his political stance on multiple causes, and his steadfast commitment for getting CRPD ratified in the 112th Congress. Speakers included Senators John Kerry (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). Former Senators Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Bob’s wife, also spoke.

During the celebration of the life and work of Bob Dole, the former Senator himself also addressed the gathering and thanked everyone in the room for their hard work on this historic vote.  [Read more…]

CRPD Vote: Act Now!

Yoshiko Dart, Marca Bristo and Mark Derry at the 2011 Annual ConferenceThe final call blitz for the CRPD is happening today, Monday, December 3, 2012, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Time is running out. This Tuesday, December 4th at 12:00 noon, the CRPD will be voted on by our Senators. Make sure they do the right thing and vote YES.

The disability community has worked for years to bring us to this point. Over 300 disability and veteran organizations and thousands of advocates have weighed in and worked tirelessly to get a vote on the CRPD in the Senate. But, a small and loud opposition led by Rick Santorum and the Tea Party is using misinformation to take the votes that we have all worked so hard to secure. Senators opposed to our treaty have agreed to a vote without amendments because they think the disability community will not win. We must prove them wrong.  [Read more…]

No Time to Waste: Firm Up the Vote for the CRPD!

CRPD Sticker: Ratify CRPD Yes!This is the final moment and we have a busy week ahead. There will be a discussion of amendments on the Senate floor today. We are asking the Senate not to add any additional amendments. It is essential you and your networks contact Senators and let them know we are counting on their YES vote!

We need to do two things.  [Read more…]

CRPD Moving Toward Ratification!

CRPD Yes! 2012 signThe excitement began yesterday when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) presented a motion to proceed on the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The motion passed by a roll call vote of 61 – 36, with 3 Senators not voting. See how your Senators voted.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a supporter of the treaty, read a letter of support from Senator Bob Dole, who is currently in Walter Reed Medical Center. Dole is 89 years old and he would like to see the ratification of the treaty in his lifetime. He and President George H.W. Bush want to see bipartisan cooperation with CRPD, like they had in 1990 with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

When the announcement was made that the motion passed, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, gave a riveting and passionate speech on why he supports ratification.  He spoke of his personal experience as a veteran and voiced support for veterans with disabilities, who would benefit from the CRPD.  Senator Kerry was adamant in addressing the opposition and informing legislators that the treaty will not change any US laws. He spoke passionately about the importance of bipartisan cooperation for ratification, which would show Americans that there is some commonality in the Senate and that “we can get something done”.  [Read more…]

Breaking News: CRPD Heads to the Senate Floor Today!

CRPD LogoSenate Majority Leader Reid announced yesterday that he will be bringing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the Senate floor today, Tuesday, November 27, 2012.

Yesterday, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), former Senator Rick Santorum, and Michael Farris from the Home School Legal Defense Association held a press conference and claimed publically that they have the votes to defeat the CRPD. Santorum then headed to an interview with Piers Morgan to reinforce his opposition to the treaty. Opponents continue to misrepresent U.S. ratification of the treaty, and the voice of the disability community is the only force that can counter that effort.

We must tell Senator Reid and the rest of the U.S. Senate that the disability community supports the CRPD as reported by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with no additional amendments! The reservations, understandings, and declarations added to the treaty package were carefully crafted to address all the issues raised by the opposition.

Act Now

Let every Senator know:

  • The disability community supports the ratification of the CRPD!
  • We support the RUDs (the reservations, understandings, and a declaration proposed in the treaty package) and no new amendments[Read more…]

Help Thank Senator Dole for His Support: Appreciation Letters Requested by November 26, 2012

CRPD Supporters at the 2011 NCIL RallyNCIL has joined with 40 disability organizations to sponsor an event to honor former Senator Bob Dole. The event will be held in Washington, DC on December 4, 2012 and is meant to demonstrate our appreciation to him for his leadership on and support of disability rights legislation. Senator Dole was a key legislator for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and has been actively advocating for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

As part of the event, we will create a book of letters of appreciation, which will be presented to Senator Dole. We encourage CILs and SILCs to write and submit a letter of appreciation for his work on disability rights issues so that it can be included as a part of this gift. Also, if you are in possession of any historical memorabilia (such pictures, proclamations, etc.) that demonstrate a time that your organization has honored Senator Dole, please send copies. The deadline for submissions of all types is 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Monday, November 26, 2012.  [Read more…]

Today Is the Day! Act Now to Help Lead the Campaign to Ratify the CRPD

CRPD LogoNCIL members, your advocacy on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been very effective. Your outreach through calls, emails, and social media prompted the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote the CRPD out of committee on the 22nd Anniversary of the ADA! When NCIL members gathered in Washington, DC for the 2012 Annual Conference, talking with your Senators during Hill Visits provided important advocacy by educating lawmakers on the importance of the CRPD to the disability community.

Congress has returned from recess, the “Lame Duck” session has begun, and we need you to call your Senators today! We are close to achieving our goal of Ratification of the CRPD. The disability advocacy community is coming together to be a part of a Three Phase Campaign that started Monday, October 22 and runs through the end of the year!  [Read more…]