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September 01, 2014

Attempt to bring up CRPD fails

The Senate failed to proceed to consideration of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Sept. 17 after one senator objected to a unanimous consent request from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

Harkin’s request called for two hours of debate and no amendments on the treaty, which had been approved July 22 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He emphasized strong support for the CRPD, but Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) objected to Harkin’s request, saying that the Senate deserved more than two hours of debate and should have the ability to consider amendments.

Harkin, who has been a leader in the fight for CRPD ratification and will retire at the end of this Congress, expressed his disappointment but said he would continue to work for ratification.

“For the United States to live up to its role as a global leader on disability rights, we must extend the promise of equal access across the globe and bring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to a vote by the full Senate as soon as possible,” he emphasized. “In an increasingly global economy, U.S. citizens with disabilities, including our veterans, too often face barriers when they travel, conduct business, study, or live overseas. Approving this measure would help to break down those barriers,” he added.

The ABA strongly supports ratification of CRPD, which came into force in 2009 and has been ratified by 150 countries. The treaty requires state parties “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

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