BVA has pledged its support for U.S. Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The treaty recognizes the fundamental values of nondiscrimination and equal access for persons with disabilities in all areas of life. It helps protect Americans with disabilities who work and travel abroad from discrimination, including disabled veterans.
BVA Executive Director Al Avina and Director of Government Relations Tom Zampieri attended a July 12 Senate hearing that included testimony by officials of the U.S. State Department, Senators, and disability rights advocates. A Capitol press conference hosted by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) followed.
“What we need to do is take the gold standard of protecting the rights of the disabled in America and make it a global standard,” said Senator Durbin. “That is our goal with this treaty.”
He also said that CRPD is an opportunity for America to take the lead on supporting the rights of people with disabilities. Some 54 million individuals living within the U.S. have a disability of some kind.
Both Senators praised former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) for his tireless work for people with disabilities.
“Although he couldn’t be with us today, Bob Dole believes that this is part of a legacy he would like to leave for not only Americans but people throughout the world,” said Senator McCain. “He was a champion for people with disabilities during his tenure in the Senate, a driving force for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he feels the same way about this treaty.”
CRPD will require no financial cost and no changes to domestic law. According to the State Department, it provides no right of action by any party, individual, or group for legal recourse in the courts, and could be an economic boon for American companies providing consultation or construction opportunities overseas.
An American delegation under President George W. Bush negotiated and approved the Convention in 2006. The U.S. signed the treaty in 2009 and submitted it to the Senate in May for its advice and consent for ratification.