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

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”. 

Throughout the afternoon, many Senators came to the floor to speak in support of the CRPD. Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) spoke about the importance of the bipartisan support the treaty has and noted that ratification will keep the US at the forefront of disability rights globally. Senator Lugar said that the world is watching us and wondering why we have not joined in this important international civil rights work. He also reiterated the fact that the CRPD will not change any US laws, as confirmed by many legal advisors.

Many of the Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee provided information on the importance of ratification of the CRPD.  They reported that they had received confirmation of support for the CRPD from almost every disability advocacy organization in the US, over 300 organizations. They spoke about letters of support they received from multiple veterans and service-related organizations that support ratification as they live and work abroad, and students with disabilities who want to safely study abroad.  The Senators reviewed testimony presented at the July 2012 hearing on the treaty, and NCIL was thanked for our work by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). John Lancaster, former NCIL Executive Director, was quoted by two Senators. Watch the full proceedings.


  1. Thge American thing to do is vote for this world wide agreement. Thei is no reason not to. sure hope my two Senmators are on board!
    Ken Schaap