UPDATE ON THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES by Melanie Brunson

At long last, efforts to obtain ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the U.S. Senate have begun to develop some momentum. In recognition of this, the following resolution was adopted by the ACB members attending our 2012 conference and convention in Louisville, Ky. earlier this summer.
 
WHEREAS, President Obama has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and
 
WHEREAS, the United States will not be considered a signatory to this important treaty until it is also ratified by the United States Senate; and
 
WHEREAS, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has long supported this treaty;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky. on the 13th day of July, 2012, that this organization strongly urge the United States Senate to ratify this treaty; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization direct its staff, and advocates speaking on its behalf, to express the sense of this resolution to members of the United States Senate with all due promptness.
 
Copies of this resolution were sent to the members of the United States Senate.

Then, on July 26, 2012, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by a vote of 13-6. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the foreign relations committee, said that he would prefer to get this treaty to the floor as soon as possible.  We are hopeful that this floor vote will take place some time in September.

Many ACB members have called and written their senators urging the swift passage of this treaty.  Those efforts have been very helpful, but as I write, work is still under way to gain enough bipartisan support for the treaty to insure its passage when the vote is taken.  Please check the Washington Connection by going to the ACB web site, or calling the office at 1-800-424-8666, to get the latest information on the status of this important legislation.