PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND:
On September 17, 2013, the National Council on Disability (NCD) and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) convened an educational forum on the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Held in Washington DC, nearly 100 representatives of the disability and veteran communities from across the country participated. The educational forum was an opportunity to hear from leaders and experts from various disability, veteran, faith and business organizations involved in promoting greater understanding of the importance of the treaty and the process for ratification.
The educational forum provided an excellent opportunity to highlight the leadership role of the National Council on Disability and its partners in strongly supporting ratification. The importance of timely ratification of the CRPD cannot be over-stated.The CRPD offers a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world that embraces the human rights and dignity of all people with disabilities.
Reinforcing the importance of the CRPD, Justin Dart eloquently stated in 2002:
"Almost all great moral revolutions have been lead by apparently ordinary people who became passionate, single minded advocates, who destroyed stereotypes with the magic sword of truth, who transcended politics, hate, and fear and united the people in their personal universes, who struggled for a world of justice. You do have the power to create an international convention that will be the Declaration of Independence for billions of people in the 21st century. No soldier ever died for a better cause." ... "This Convention must not be simply another ritual of words to allow paternalists and bit players to say they have done their duty to people with disabilities. It must guarantee stronger, not weaker, rights and remedies and laws like the ADA. If we want a meaningful Convention we must give up business as usual and fight as if the lives of billions depended on it, because they do."
This comprehensive report of the forum has been developed and is presented in three sections with appendices:
- Section 1) provides general background information with a brief discussion of the history and content of the treaty and the process for monitoring treaty implementation via the international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Section 2) reviews the history of the effort to ratify the CRPD in the U.S. in 2012 with an update on 2013 activities; discusses some of the legal implications of the CRPD and it's accompanying Reservations, Understandings and Declarations (RUDs) from the U.S. administration.
- Section 3) contains a series of powerful quotes delivered by speakers at the forum expressing their rationale for supporting U.S. Ratification of the CRPD.
The Appendices provide materials disseminated at the forum.