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November 27, 2012 Print

Senate To Vote On UN Disability Treaty

by Bethany Monk

The Senate may vote tonight on the ratification of a United Nations (U.N.) treaty that would give the U.N. the freedom to set the standard for how to best care for people with disabilities.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. announced earlier today his decision to bring up the controversial treaty in the Senate. The Senate voted 61-36 today to move the treaty to the floor for debate, which has now begun.

President Obama signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2009, which he sent to the Senate in May for ratification. It requires only two-thirds passage there.

“One of the primary concerns with this treaty is that does not protect the parental rights of children with disabilities, giving the government the authority to determine what is in the best interest of the child,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of issue analysis for CitizenLink. “US courts could then use the treaty’s language to force parents to comply with policies contrary to what’s best for their child — policies that are not based in US law but on international law. “ 

This would be the first treaty that tells families how to live their lives, said William Estrada, federal relations director for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an advocacy group based in Virginia.

The treaty would set standards deciding who educates people with disabilities and where. HSLDA encourages people to speak up on the issue by contacting their respective senators to ask them to oppose the treaty.

In September, 36 senators signed a letter opposing action on international treaties in the lame-duck session.

Ask your senators to oppose the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. You can email them directly through the CitizenLink Action Center.

Read the letter signed by 36 senators.

Read the CRPD.

Read HSLDA’s background paper on the CRPD.