19 September 2012

What's the Deal with the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities

What is it?
The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) is a United Nations convention aimed at assuring that people with disabilities across the globe are given access to the same rights and opportunities afforded by their non-disabled counterparts.  Similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the CRPD asserts that people with disabilities should have equal access to information, education, medical care, and employment, and should be protected against stigmatization and discrimination by the government.

Why it's important?
People with disabilities around the world experience higher instances of unemployment, poverty, and sexual and physical abuse than those who are not disabled. This is namely due to the fact that, because of cultural stigma or insufficient resources, many people with disabilities aren't provided with accommodations in school, or are barred from getting an education altogether. These people are then left without the tools to support themselves and fight for their rights, and are consequently looked down upon as unproductive members of society.
The CRPD is a human rights treaty, ensuring equality and access for all people on a global scale, and ratifying it would give the US, the UN, and other ratifying countries the ability and responsibility to enforce sanctions against governments who commit human rights violations against people with disabilities.

Learn More:
Read about it on the UN's site. (International sign language videos also offered here)
Read about it on the National Association for the Deaf's site.

What to do:
The CRPD is up for a "resolution of ratification" vote on the Senate floor, so if you want it to pass, contact your congressional representative and let him or her know that you are a voter who cares about accessibility and equality, and want to see the CRPD ratified. Check out the NAD's website for a list of representatives, important phone numbers, email addresses, and even sample messages you can use to make your voice heard.

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