Reform Movement: Failure to Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty Deeply Disappointing

December 5, 2012Raechel Banks

In response to yesterday’s Senate vote failing to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Rabbi David Saperstein issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed by yesterday’s Senate vote failing to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The United States has long been a global leader in pursuing ever-greater inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of public life. The CRPD’s rejection is a blow to that effort and the goal of making nothing less than the entire world accessible to all.

Whatever the reasons that led Senators to vote against the CRPD, the vote will be harmful to people with disabilities around the world. Americans with disabilities, including the thousands of servicemen and women who have become disabled while defending our nation’s values and security, will continue to find parts of the world inaccessible to them.  U.S. endorsement of this treaty would have helped alleviate that challenge.

The Reform Movement has been a steadfast supporter of access for people with disabilities and played a key role in the passage of the ADA in 1990. We have done so with the knowledge that each individual is created b’tselem elohim in the image of God, and worthy of dignity and respect.  The CRPD is a key means of ensuring respect for all people – both those with and without disabilities – and should have the backing of the United States government. That the Senate failed to provide that backing is troubling and saddening.

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that he will bring the treaty up for a vote again in the next Congress. We call on the Senate to quickly ratify the CRPD and to affirm the U.S.’s commitment to a world accessible to all.”

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