Though the International Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities has been defeated, that doesn't mean it's
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
"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
The treaty might resurface in the U.S. Senate next year.