Defeated CRPD could resurface

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Charlie Butts (

Though the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been defeated, that doesn't mean it's dead.

The vote in the Senate was 61-38 in favor of ratification, but 66 votes were needed for it to pass (see earlier story). Prior to the vote, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) spoke against the bill, raising the question of U.S. sovereignty in submitting to a United Nations agency.

"The entire focus has been to empower an international agency -- here the United Nations, an organization that truly is proving to be dysfunctional and often hostile to the most legitimate interests of the United States to monitor the internal policies of the United States and tell us how we ought to operate," stated Sessions.

Arizona Senator John Kyl (R) pointed out to his colleagues that the United States already has the best laws dealing with the disabled, saying foreign countries need only to look to America as a model for such legislation.

"Just as with many treaties before this one, the CRPD would offer cover to regimes that have no intention of actually helping their citizens while needlessly tying the hands of countries like the United States that have actually made great strides in this area," he warned.

Kyl also made note of China, which has signed the treaty. In that country, citizens even suspected of having a mental disability can be arbitrarily committed indefinitely to institutions because of a lack of legal protections. They can also be forcibly medicated.

The treaty might resurface in the U.S. Senate next year.

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