Disabled Activists Demand Ratification of Disability Treaty #CRPD!

Feel the energy of these advocates asking the U.S. Senate to ratify the CRPD “Disability Treaty”! Six minutes with captions:

You can take action to support the CRPD at http://disabilitytreaty.org.  The Action Center there can guide you through phone calls to your Senators with phone numbers and a suggested script.  (Although phone calls are best, the Action Center can also help with emails.)

Want to learn more about the CRPD? Start with these basic handouts: http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager and http://bit.ly/CRPDmyths.

Want to know what the CRPD says? Read the full text for yourself.  Or, if you prefer, you can just read a brief summary at http://bit.ly/CRPDoverview.

Finished calling the two Senators for your state?  Or, live in disenfranchised DC?  Consider calling a few more Senators!

Yes, each phone call is counted even if you have called on the same issue many times before.  Winning CRPD ratification is partly a game of numbers: we lost at our first attempt at U.S. ratification in December 2012 because people believing in conspiracy theories about the UN flooded Senators with more phone calls than CRPD supporters.  Please don’t let this happen again.  We need to boost the number of our calls to Senators in order to win.  One easy way to do this is to either call more Senators, including Senators from other states, or else call Senators multiple times, or both.

Consider more ways to take action at http://bit.ly/ActionCRPD.

Landslide Majority of Americans Support the “Disability Treaty”–So What are They Waiting for?

What Are They Waiting For?    •	Nearly two-thirds of all Americans support it. •	50 percent of Republicans support it, with only 32% opposed. •	61 percent of Independent voters support it.  •	83 percent of Democrats support it. •	(Source: http://bit.ly/DisabilityPoll2014)   Why Hasn’t the U.S. Senate  Ratified the Disability Treaty?  •	The Disability Treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is an important international agreement among countries to defend the civil rights of 1 billion people with disabilities around the world. •	More than 150 countries have ratified it—but not the United States.  U.S. Senators have been listening to fringe groups who use misinformation and lies to advance their anti-treaty agenda.   Take Action!  •	Please tell Senators that landslide majority of Americans like YOU support the CRPD.   The Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org will give you phone numbers for your Senators and a suggested script for talking with them. •	Learn the basics about the treaty at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager and http://bit.ly/CRPDmyths. •	Find more ideas for taking action at http://bit.ly/ActionCRPD!For people who cannot see the image, I provide the same text below:

What Are They Waiting For?

Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says www.disabilitytreaty.org also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with cane

  • Nearly two-thirds of all Americans support it.
  • 50 percent of Republicans support it, with only 32% opposed.
  • 61 percent of Independent voters support it.
  • 83 percent of Democrats support it.
  • (Source: http://bit.ly/DisabilityPoll2014)

 Why Hasn’t the U.S. Senate Ratified the Disability Treaty?

  • The Disability Treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is an important international agreement among countries to defend the civil rights of 1 billion people with disabilities around the world.
  • More than 150 countries have ratified it—but not the United States. S. Senators have been listening to fringe groups who use misinformation and lies to advance their anti-treaty agenda.

Take Action!

Urgent Action for Disability Treaty Needed: Join July 29th Rally in DC!

If you’re in DC and care about disability rights, please join the Disability Treaty Rally this July 29th! https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/ Even if you cannot attend or aren’t in DC, there are other ways you can help! CRPD graphic 0614

This could be a crucial make or break moment for the Disability Treaty (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD). Which is why YOUR timely action is URGENT. We recently passed a major hurdle when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the CRPD out of committee. But we still need Senator Reid to schedule a full floor vote. And we need more votes to get the super-majority two-thirds vote we need to ratify the CRPD (67 out of 100 Senators).

You may know that the Disability Treaty is a major international agreement protecting the human rights of 1 billion people with disabilities around the world: 147 countries have ratified it, but the U.S. has not. Not familiar with it? Visit http://disabilitytreaty.org/ and read the CRPD 1 Pager at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager. Learn why more than 800 disability, veterans, faith, business, and human rights organizations support it.

Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says www.disabilitytreaty.org also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with canePlease join the July 29 rally for the “Disability Treaty” (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD) in Washington DC!

We will gather at 12:15 pm on Tuesday, July 29 on 3rd Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Maryland Avenue SW. Please arrive PROMPTLY. We will go to a location to be announced.  If you cannot attend in person, you can watch via live video streaming on the web at https://bambuser.com/channel/USICD.

We also need YOU to CALL SENATORS and tell them to ratify the CRPD! And ask your friends all over USA to do the same! Find phone numbers and talking points at the Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org/!  Already called your own Senators and Senator Reid? Please consider also calling some key targeted SenatorsLead Disability Orgs

If desired, RSVP for the rally at https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/ Even if you cannot attend, you can still help encourage your DC-area contacts to participate. If you use Facebook, go to the Facebook event page and use the “Invite Friends” feature (a little down in the right column) to invite your DC-area contacts to the Rally.

NAD Asks Deaf Community: Take Action to Support Disability Treaty NOW!

Yes, everyone should please call your Senators! The http://disabilitytreaty.org website can help you with phone numbers and a suggested script for what to say on the phone to Senators’ staff.  Yes, you can call over the weekend–voice mail messages are counted, too!  Yes, you can call the same Senators with the same messages multiple times: each call is still counted. Tired of calling your own Senators?  Consider calling the Senators listed at http://www.handicap-international.us/breaking_crpd

If you’re in DC, please come to the Disability Treaty / CRPD Rally on July 29th! Learn the details at https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/. Or, even if you can’t go, please use the “Invite Friends” feature (a little down in the right column) to invite all your DC-area Facebook contacts to the Rally. Make sure everyone in DC knows this Rally is happening! People can take a long lunch break to attend!

Or if you’re new to the Disability Treaty and want to learn more about it first, try these:  http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager, http://bit.ly/CRPDtimeline, and http://bit.ly/Deaf4CRPD.  Or, if you’re ambitious, you can read the text of what the Disability Treaty itself says (it’s long!): http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/convention

Join the July 29th Rally for the Disability Treaty in Washington DC!

Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says www.disabilitytreaty.org also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with caneWe are experiencing, right now, a make or break moment for ratifying the Disability Treaty.  On one hand, we are now closer to ratifying the Disability Treaty than we have been since 2012! But on the other we could still miss it—unless we have YOUR help in taking action!  We urgently need your involvement to give this treaty one big final push.

You may know that the Disability Treaty is a crucial international agreement protecting the human rights of 1 billion people with disabilities around the world: 147 countries have ratified it, but the U.S. has not. Not familiar with it?  Read a handout on the CRPD at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager, click here for more resources on the CRPD, or read the text of the Disability Treaty itself.  Learn why more than 800 disability, veterans, faith, business, and human rights organizations support it.

Please join the July 29 rally for the “Disability Treaty” (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD) in Washington DC!  RSVP for the march and invite your friends via https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/

The rally will gather at 12:15 pm on Tuesday, July 29 on 3rd Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Maryland Avenue SW.CRPD graphic 0614  Please arrive PROMPTLY.

We also need YOU to CALL SENATORS and tell them to ratify the CRPD! And ask your friends all over USA to do the same! Find phone numbers and talking points at the Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org/!  Finished calling your own Senators?  Ready for more phone calls? Consider calling some of our targeted Senators!

 

ALERT: Disability Treaty is Moving Again! We Need More of YOUR Phone Calls to Senators

Edited (July 24, 2014) to add this paragraph: The Disability Treaty has passed a major hurdle that we have been working toward during more than 18 months of sustained campaigning!  The treaty (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD) has been passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This means we are a major step closer to ratification–but we’re not there yet.  We still need your help calling Senators to ask them to ratify.  The Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org can help you with phone numbers and a script for talking with your Senators’ staff.  With the Disability Treaty passed out of committee, Senator Reid could schedule a Senate floor vote at any time.  Things may move VERY QUICKLY from here on out.  Although I try to post alerts here when I am able, sometimes there is simply too much to do.  The best way to ensure you don’t miss any important opportunities to take action is to subscribe to the CRPD Action Alert mailing list at http://disabilitytreaty.org/app/register?1&m=9605.

The text of the original blog post (posted on July 18) follows below:

Thank you to everyone who called their Senators this month and expressed support for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)! Based on your incredible show of support, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Menendez has scheduled a mark-up hearing on July 22nd! (Senators will propose and vote on Amendments for the CRPD, then vote it out of Committee).

We need your help! It is critical! We cannot stop now: The world is watching!

Your Senators need to hear again from you and know that you support the CRPD! Show the community is behind this treaty and that we want the process to keep moving forward to a Floor vote!

Visit our citizen action portal,www.disabilitytreaty.orgto find yourSenators information and CALL them! They need to see that we want this NOW or we will not succeed.

For examples on contacting your Senator through Twitter follow @Ashettle and @USICD and @AdvocatEquality.

You can make the CRPD Sticker your Facebook profile picture to encourage support by your friends Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says www.disabilitytreaty.org also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with caneand family

​ Or, find more stickers at http://bit.ly/CRPDprofile!

If you would like to the join the next National Youth and Campus leaders call, please contact Andrea Shettle at AShettle@USICD.org.

YOUR International Travel Stories Could Help Global Disability Rights

CRPD_StickerAre you a person with a disability? Have you traveled or lived in a country other than the U.S.? Have you faced accessibility barriers or disability-based discrimination while in another country? Or, have you ever been unable to participate in an international exchange program because of accessibility barriers abroad?

YOUR story could help the U.S. ratify the “Disability Treaty”, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, http://disabilitytreaty.org). This is an important international agreement to honor the civil rights of people with disabilities: 147 countries have ratified it, but the U.S. has not.

  • Please take a few minutes to think of one specific incident in which you experienced problems in another country because of your disability.
  • OR, think about a time you couldn’t participate in an international exchange program or other international trip because of disability discrimination abroad.
  • Please write a few sentences about this one specific incident. Then, submit your story via the web at http://www.harkin.senate.gov/help/crpdstories.cfm
  • You may have experienced problems on many occasions in another country. But we are asking you to choose ONE incident to describe.
  • Please submit multiple stories if you are able! We ask that each story describe a separate, single incident. 

Your story could be used to educate U.S. Senators about why 1 billion people with disabilities around the world need them to ratify the Disability Treaty (CRPD).  Learn more about the campaign for U.S. ratification of the CRPD at http://disabilitytreaty.org.

CRPD graphic 0614

Join the Thunder for the “Disability Treaty” (#CRPD)!

Help bring attention to the “Disability Treaty” (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD)!  We need the U.S. to ratify this important international human rights treaty protecting the civil rights of 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide.  Sign up your Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account NOW to join the next “Thunder Clap It” for the CRPD at http://thndr.it/1ky8p97 !

What’s A “Thunder Clap It”?

A “Thunder Clap It” is when 100 or more people sign on their Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account to all send out the same message at the same time to all their followers.  To participate, you need to sign up in advance.  The next CRPD “Thunder Clap It” will be at 2pm EST on June 10, 2014 (1pm Central Time, 11am Pacific Time).  Sign up BEFORE this time or you will miss the Thunder Clap.

How Do I Sign Up?

  • Go to this link: http://thndr.it/1ky8p97
  • A message will ask you to share a message to support the #CRPD.
  • You will find three buttons—one each for Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  You need to have an account in at least one of these three in order to participate.
  • Click on whichever button is appropriate.  You will have an opportunity to personalize your message to your followers.
  • Hit the “Add My Support” button.
  • If you have successfully signed up, then you should appear at the top of the list of “Recent Supporters” in the right hand side bar.  Refresh the page if needed.

What Else?

Learn more about the CRPD and other ways to help at http://disabilitytreaty.org.  Sign up for the CRPD “action alert” mailing list at the link!  Ask your friends to do the same!

Call for Volunteers for Disability Human Rights Campaign

Dear Prospective Volunteers and Human Disability Rights Advocates:

Did you know that the United States has been missing out on an important opportunity to support human rights for one billion people with disabilities around the world?

The first international human rights treaty to address people with disabilities is trapped in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  This “Disability Treaty”, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), has been ratified by 141 other countries.  But the United States hasn’t joined them.  And we cannot join them until the Foreign Relations Committee takes action on the Disability Treaty.

We need volunteers like YOU to be involved in the national movement for U.S. ratification of the CRPD.  You can learn more about the treaty at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager.

 How can I help?

The easiest way to start is by visiting http://disabilitytreaty.org.  Learn more about what the “Disability Treaty” is and why it matters.  Use the action center to guide you through your first phone calls or emails to key Senators.  Ask them to re-start the negotiation process on the CRPD and move the treaty toward ratification.

We are seeking YOUR STORY to put a FACE to CRPD ratification efforts.  Have you tried to travel abroad for study, work, or recreation and had disability-related challenges?  Please contact Rhonda Neuhaus at rneuhaus@dredf.org or share at http://disabilitytreaty.org.

If you’re ready to do more, you can reach out to Andrea Shettle at ashettle@usicd.org.  She can send you a packet with more information on how to get started, including dial-in and CART instructions for how you can join the next national teleconference call for students and other campus leaders.  These regular calls include updates on the national movement for CRPD ratification and enable participants to exchange ideas for taking action.

Save these dates on your calendar for upcoming national calls:

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3pm Central time, 1 pm Pacific time)
  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3pm Central time, 1pm Pacific time)
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3pm Central time, 1pm Pacific time)

Petitions to Support the International Disability Rights Treaty!

Support global disability rights!  Sign and disseminate the petitions for the Disability Treaty!  Youth and students at http://bit.ly/Youth4CRPD!  People of all ages at http://bit.ly/CRPDpetition!

One billion people with disabilities around the world confront discrimination at every turn.  Society excludes them from education, employment, basic health care services, travel and transportation, and even the opportunity to live with their own families in the community.

The “Disability Treaty”, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is the first international human rights treaty to address these inequities.  So far, 141 countries have ratified it.  And these countries are slowly starting to revise their laws to be more consistent with the intent and spirit of the Disability Treaty.

But the United States is behind.  We have not yet ratified the CRPD.  Instead, this important treaty is stuck in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Please help fix that!  Tell Senators you want them to return to negotiations and move the CRPD toward ratification!

Please sign and disseminate the petitions:

Want to do more?  Educate yourself about the treaty and use the action center at http://disabilitytreaty.org.

Are you at a U.S. college or university?  Want to help mobilize other people at your U.S. college or university to take action on the CRPD?  Please communicate with Andrea Shettle at ashettle@usicd.org about how to get involved!  Tell her you saw this via the Rambling Justice blog.

 

Attention Disability Rights Treaty Supporters: Two National Teleconference Calls Tomorrow, January 28th!

ear disability rights advocates:

This announcement is a friendly reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday, January 28th, is an important day for people across the country who want the U.S. to ratify the “Disability Treaty”—Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)!  Tomorrow, two separate national teleconference phone calls for CRPD supporters are being offered.  I encourage you to attend both if you are able.  These calls will complement and build upon each other and both may be helpful to you as you consider ways to mobilize YOUR school / campus community in support of CRPD ratification.

  1. The first call is for ALL people in the U.S. who want the U.S. Senate to ratify the Disability Treaty (CRPD)!  This call will be a rallying call to discuss a wider national strategy for calling Senators back to the negotiation table so we can move forward toward ratification.  There will be hundreds from around the country on the call.  Speakers will include national leaders in the CRPD ratification movement. This call is at 1 pm EST (Noon Central Time, 10am Pacific Time).  Click here to RSVP for the general CRPD call.  People who RSVP for this call will receive instructions for dialing into the call and/or connecting to the online CART service (live transcription of the call).
  2. The second call is targeted for YOU, university students and other university personnel who want to help mobilize their campus community in support of the Disability Treaty (CRPD).  This will have a smaller group of participants with more opportunity to exchange concrete ideas for taking action at your campus. Much of the information from the earlier call may not be repeated. The student/campus leader call is at 4 pm EST (3 pm Central Time, 1pm Pacific Time).  This call will be facilitated by Rhonda Neuhaus from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).  She will be joined by Andrea Shettle at the U.S. International Council on Disabilities.  Please contact Andrea Shettle at ashettle@usicd.org to join this call.  If this email was forwarded to you by someone else, then please also contact ashettle@usicd.org to be put on our mailing list to be notified of future calls for student and other campus leaders who support the Disability Treaty.

Other quick announcements:

  • Please sign and disseminate the youth and student CRPD petition at http://bit.ly/Youth4CRPD!  Show U.S. Senators that youth under age 30, and students of all ages, want the U.S. to ratify the Disability Treaty!
  • Learn more about the disability treaty, why more than 800 U.S. disability, veterans, human rights, and other organizations want the U.S. to ratify it, and how it will help 1 billion people with disabilities around the world at http://disabilitytreaty.org.
  • Are you a student or recent graduate with disabilities who aspires to a career in the international development or international affairs field?  A U.S. citizen?  Please consider applying to join the Youth International Development and Affairs (YIDA) internship program.  The YIDA program will bring a small group of talented interns to Washington DC during the summer of 2014 to complete internships at various international organizations in the DC area.  The application deadline is this Wednesday, January 29th!  Learn more about the program and how to apply at http://www.usicd.org/template/page.cfm?id=257

Senator Corker Gives Disability Community Coal for Christmas

Senator Corker Gives Disability Community Coal for Christmas

Today Senator Corker walked away from the negotiations on the Disability Treaty!
He caved to the extreme far right and abdicated his leadership on this bipartisan issue.

It is time to hold him responsible!

Join this Call to ACTION!

Let Senator Corker know that we won’t be cast aside like second class citizens. Don’t let him continue to hide behind false constitutional arguments! Hold him responsible for carrying the water for the far rights myths, lies and exaggerations. Call his DC and Tennessee Senate offices!

Let him know that we will NOT go away!

You can contact Senator Corker at:
202-224-3344
or find his Tennessee office numbers here.

White-rimmed red Christmas stocking filled with black coal

Shame on Senator Bob Corker for turning his back on the global disability community! Send him this picture of a coal-filled Christmas stocking!

Send this picture to Senator Corker’s staff here with the message “Restart the negotiations!”

Forward this message onto your lists of friends and colleagues so they can join us in sending a message to Senator Corker that we are HERE and that our voice MATTERS!

www.disabilitytreaty.org

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For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2013

Contact: Kevin Locke, U.S. International Council on Disabilities
klocke@usicd.org, (202) 347-0102

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

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.”

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Acting Assistant Secretary Zeya Delivers a Video Message on the Disabilities Treaty

This captioned 6-minute video from the U.S. Department of State explains why they are working to support U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For more information on the Disability Treaty, visit http://disabilitytreaty.org. The website at this link also has a great Action Center that makes it easy to call or email Senators to ask their support for the CRPD: it does everything except dial the phone for you! Youth under 30 and students of all ages can sign a CRPD support petition at http://bit.ly/Youth4CRPD.

Reminder: Dec. 18 teleconference call for students/campus leaders

This post is a friendly reminder that students and other campus advocates are invited to participate in a national meeting via teleconference phone call this December 18. 
  • During this call, we will share updates on the Disability Treaty campaign.  Participants can also exchange ideas on how to keep the effort going during winter break!
  • This call will be facilitated by Rhonda Neuhaus, who represents the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).  Joining her will be Andrea Shettle at the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD).
  • These calls are for students and others at U.S. universities and colleges who want to help mobilize their campus community to take action in support of the Disability Treaty!

When is the Next Call?

  • The next call will be on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, at 4 pm EST (3 pm Central Time, 1 pm Pacific Time). 
  • Another call will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3 pm Central Time, 1 pm Pacific Time.)
  • Need the dial-in information for these calls?  Please contact Andrea Shettle at ashettle@usicd.orgCan’t join the December call? Ask me for a summary.
  • Deaf participants usually use video relay service to join these calls.  But please alert me if you will need other accommodations such as CART.

Who Are We?USICD and DREDF are two of the lead organizations in the national movement for US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, aka “Disability Treaty”).  We are in a coalition of more than 800 disability, veterans, faith, business, and civil rights organizations who share the same goal of CRPD ratification in the U.S.  Please join this exciting and historic grassroots movement!

What Else?

  • Also, find information and materials on the Disability Treaty at http://disabilitytreaty.org.  The Action Center at this website makes it easier to call or email Senators.

In Addendum …P.S. In addition to leading the national effort for U.S. ratification of the CRPD, USICD also coordinates an internship program for students and recent graduates with disabilities who aspire to careers in international development or international affairs.  We are now accepting applications for the Youth in International Development and Affairs (YIDA) internship program until January 29, 2014.  Learn more about this program and how to apply at http://usicd.org/template/page.cfm?id=257

image

A Time Line of the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of Disability Treaty (CRPD)

This time line was edited and updated on August 21, 2014.

Confused about what has been happening with the campaign for U.S. ratification of the “Disability Treaty” (called, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD)?  This post starts with a brief background on what the CRPD (“Disability Treaty”) is.  Then it provides a rough timeline of events in the movement for U.S. ratification of the CRPD.

The CRPD is an international treaty—meaning, an agreement among nations that sign and ratify it.  Countries that ratify the CRPD agree to provide people with disabilities the same rights and opportunities that other people have.  The CRPD was partly inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It promotes equality, non-discrimination, and the inclusion of people with disabilities in the mainstream of society.  As of August 2014, 147 countries have ratified the CRPD–but the U.S. has not yet joined them.

When a country signs a treaty, this is basically a way of saying they think the treaty is good and they’re thinking about maybe ratifying it.  Ratification is a more serious step because it signifies that the country is going to look at its laws and make sure they are consistent with the CRPD.  Different countries vary in their process for ratifying international treaties.  In the United States, the U.S. president can sign a treaty but cannot ratify it.  Only the U.S. Senate can ratify an international treaty.  For this, they need a two-thirds “super majority” vote.  Since we currently have 100 Senators, this means we need 67 Senators to vote “yes” in order to ratify the CRPD.

For more basics about the treaty, download a brief handout at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager.  More information on the CRPD, including a FAQ and a 48-minute captioned webinar video, at http://disabilitytreaty.org.  You can find many more materials to explore at http://bit.ly/Resources4CRPD.  Timeline below:

2001 – Mexico proposes the idea of an international treaty to promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.

2002 to 2006 – Thousands of people around the world are involved with the process of writing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These include representatives of the United Nations, legal experts, and delegates from hundreds of disability-led organizations from more than 100 countries. Many of the CRPD authors are themselves people with disabilities.  And many of the authors have personally experienced the human rights violations that the CRPD is meant to help prevent.

March 2007 – Countries are now able to sign or ratify the CRPD. More than 80 countries sign it at the opening ceremony.  President Bush chooses not to sign on behalf of the U.S.

2008 – Senator Barack Obama becomes the only presidential candidate in either party to make a campaign pledge that he will sign the CRPD and help advocate for the Senate to ratify it.

July 2009 – President Barack Obama signs the CRPD.

July 2009 to April 2012 – Many U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Justice, carefully examine every article of the CRPD. During this time, they also carefully examine all existing US federal, state, and local laws across the country relating to people with disabilities. They compare these laws against the CRPD.  After three years, both Republicans and Democrats concur that the US is already in compliance with the CRPD and that the CRPD is not a threat to US sovereignty.

May, June 2012 – The Obama administration transmits the CRPD package to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  People opposed to international treaties begin advocating against the CRPD.  People who support disability rights ramp up efforts to advocate for the CRPD.

July 2012 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold a hearing on the CRPD.  CRPD supporters advocate with Senators for its ratification. Opponents use misinformation about the treaty to mislead parents into advocating against the CRPD.  They lead parents to mistakenly believe that the CRPD would be a threat to their right to home school their children or otherwise make choices on their children’s behalf.  Parents start to flood Senators with phone calls asking them to oppose the CRPD.

November 2012 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee sends the CRPD out of Committee.  This means it can be considered by the full Senate.

December 4, 2012 – All international treaties require a two-thirds super-majority vote in the US Senate to be ratified.  The Senate votes on the CRPD: 61 vote in favor, 38 vote against, and 1 Senator (Mark Kirk, Republican from Illinois) could not vote at all due to being on sick leave during the entire year of 2012.  Several Senators had pledged to CRPD advocates that they would vote for the CRPD only to change their minds. Some Senators report that phone calls opposing the CRPD outnumbered phone calls in favor by as much as 50 to 1.

December 5 to 31, 2012 – Media coverage of the CRPD explodes.  The CRPD vote receives far more media attention for having failed than it had during the entire campaign up to this point. Senators who support the CRPD pledge to bring it back for a fresh vote sometime in the new year.

January to October 2013 – CRPD advocates continue to educate people about the CRPD and communicate with Senators on why they should support the CRPD.  Opponents continue to use misinformation and scare tactics to mobilize people in opposition to the treaty.

November 5, 2013 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds the first of two hearings on the CRPD.  So many CRPD supporters attend the hearing that three rooms are completely filled: one is the main hearing room, the other two are overflow rooms in the same building in which a televised broadcast of the hearing is shown.

November 21, 2013 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a second hearing on the CRPD.  Because so many people had attended the first hearing, this second hearing is held in a much larger room. People eager to observe the hearing once again fill the room, requiring the use of overflow space.

Late November/First Half of December 2013 – Republicans and Democrats in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee appear to negotiate in good faith regarding how to proceed with the CRPD.  This includes negotiations on a package of “Reservations, Understandings, and Declarations” that should be attached to CRPD ratification to ease the concerns of opponents over U.S. sovereignty and other issues.  Reservations, Understandings, and Declarations (sometimes referred to as “RUDs”) are amendments that a country can add when they ratify an international treaty.  These “RUDs” allow countries to clarify how they intend to interpret or implement the treaty that they are ratifying.  The U.S. has attached “RUDs” to some of the previous international treaties it has ratified.  U.S. courts have consistently upheld these RUDs as having the full force of law.  These behind-the-scenes negotiations  among Senators on the RUDs are an important preliminary step that needs to be completed before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee can hold a final mark-up hearing.  The mark-up hearing is the stage at which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee can vote on whether to send the CRPD out of committee.

December 20, 2013 – Senator Corker, the lead Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, walks away from CRPD negotiations.  He announces that he cannot support the treaty.  This temporarily slows progress on CRPD negotiations.

December 21, 2013 to March, 2014 – It quickly becomes clear that other Republican Senators who had been supporting the CRPD are continuing to strongly support US ratification.  They do not intend to follow Senator Corker’s example in walking away from negotiations.  Grassroots supporters of the CRPD continue to educate others about the treaty and advocate with Senators to re-start the negotiations process.  Democrat and Republican Senators who support the CRPD continue to work behind the scenes to find a resolution.  Advocates continue to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to raise awareness of the campaign.  Common hash tags include #ISupportCRPD, #CRPD and (less frequently) #DisabilitiesTreaty.  Some CRPD supporters also use a range of other hash tags that reach wider and more mainstream audiences, such as #HumanRights, #CivilRights, #SocialJustice, etc.

April, May, June 2014 – Hints and rumors of possible progress in behind-the-scenes negotiations give CRPD advocates a fresh infusion of energy.  Updates and action alerts for the ratification campaign are often shared at http://disabilitytreaty.org and at the CRPD News and Updates page at the website for the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD)  People can sign up to receive action alerts via email at http://disabilitytreaty.org/app/register?1&m=9605.

July 22, 2014 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a “mark-up” hearing on the CRPD, in which it agrees upon amendments for the CRPD.  (Amendments for international treaties are more formally known as “Reservations”, “Understandings”, and “Declarations”, referred to with the acronym RUDs.  RUDs are basically statements by a country explaining how they intend to interpret an international treaty.)  At the end of the July 22nd hearing, at a few moments past noon EST, the CRPD was voted “out of committee” with a 12-6 vote.

What Comes Next?

  • Now that the treaty has been sent “out of committee,” Senator Reid will be able to decide if and when to schedule a time for the full Senate floor to vote on the CRPD.  People who support the CRPD need to continue asking Senators to schedule a vote and ratify the treaty.  Advocates need to keep asking as many times as it takes for Senators to listen.  More guidance, and a sign-up page for the CRPD Action Alert mailing list, is available at the Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org/action.
  • Of course, a vote can only be called while the Senate is in session.  The U.S. Senate is on August recess and will return to session on September 8th.  Most Senators use their August recess to meet with constituents in their home state, so this can be a great time for local advocacy.  Consider setting up a meeting in person with your Senator or their staff: http://bit.ly/MeetSenators.
  • Once a date is put on the calendar for the vote, advocates will need to further ramp up efforts to ask all 100 Senators to support the treaty.  This can include multiple phone calls, Senator office visits, emails, etc.

What Can  I Do to Help?