“NO” on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This week, the Senate could vote on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Treaty Doc. 112-7).  This United Nations treaty would erode the principles of American sovereignty and federalism, and be duplicative of domestic protections already in place for Americans with disabilities.  Moreover, a lame-duck session is an inappropriate time for outgoing Senators to consider a treaty which will become the “supreme law of the land” if ratified.

The Heritage Foundation explains that the United States, which has been a world leader in protecting the rights of the disabled, already has robust protection for disabled persons and provisions in place to protect them from discrimination.  There are a number of federal agencies charged with protecting the rights of Americans with disabilities, from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to the Civil Rights Center in the U.S. Department of Labor.  Any protection that this convention could offer would be duplicative – and thus burdensome – of U.S. protections already in place.

Moreover, undue authority would be given to an unaccountable committee of academics and “disability experts” based in Geneva, Switzerland.  The committee’s authority would be a direct violation of the principles of U.S. sovereignty and federalism.  Such bodies often seek to broaden the treaties that created them, “redefining terms and expanding language that had been painstakingly negotiated by the U.N. member states that initially signed onto them — and blatantly disregarding national sovereignty.”

Finally, considering any treaty during the lame-duck session is a disservice to the American people.  As 36 Senators stated in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “new representatives carrying the election mandate should be afforded the opportunity to review and consider any international agreements that are outstanding at the time of their election.”

Heritage Action opposes the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and will include it as a key vote on our scorecard.

Related Links:
Heritage Action Scorecard
Heritage: Ratification of the Disabilities Convention Would Erode American Sovereignty
Letter: No Treaties in Lame Duck
Heritage: Another U.N. Convention That Posts Threats to U.S. Sovereignty
Heritage: U.N. Disability Treaty Leaves Door Open for Abortion Advocates
Heritage: Disabilities Treaty Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities