U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
I want to say thank you to those of you who responded to our Action Alert
asking Senator Kirk to sign on to support the U.N. Convention on the Rights
of People with Disabilities Treaty. Senator Kirk did just that!
I recommend that you now send him a thank you for his support on the
Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. You can do so by
going to these links:
Here is a great letter from our good friend Marca Bristo in the Chicago Tribune
below on Senator Kirk’s support of the Treaty.
As a person with a disability, former Sen. Bob Dole understands independence and
empowerment in a personal way. He led critical negotiations that garnered the
bipartisan support necessary to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 2012, 16 years after retiring, Dole returned to the Senate floor and urged his
former colleagues to support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of People
with Disabilities. Despite support from the disability community nationwide, the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce and all major veterans service organizations, the Senate
failed to ratify the treaty by a narrow margin.
The disability treaty will allow the U.S. to play a key role in developing disability
rights worldwide without having to change any laws or add any additional
costs to its budget. The treaty will ensure that Americans who travel and study
abroad have the same access they enjoy at home.
Despite the critical need for the treaty, there is fierce opposition, particularly from
a network called the Home School Legal Defense Association.
The association built unfounded myths around the treaty, including that it would
change home-schooling laws and even take American children with disabilities
away from their parents. Those false claims were used to elicit thousands of
calls to the Senate offices and to drive a partisan wedge into a traditionally
Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
has indicated he will soon reintroduce the treaty. When the treaty returns for
another vote, Dole may not make another trip to the Senate floor, but he will
continue to fight for the treaty’s passage.
I am inspired to hear that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., will assume Dole’s place to
defend the rights of people with disabilities.
Kirk’s voice on this issue will reawaken the bipartisan spirit of disability issues
and renew the discussion of how this treaty will bring important protections to
people with disabilities worldwide.
— Marca Bristo, president, U.S. International Council on Disabilities and CEO,
Access Living Chicago
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423