The United Nations hopes all countries will ratify its
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(CRDP). Unfortunately it is an
inferior yet pervasive document that requires nations to give up their
sovereignty in too many areas pertaining to citizens with disabilities.
the CRDP has a place in countries with poor human rights records, but that is
not the United States of America. The United States has a long history ― far
superior to the United Nations ― of protecting and improving the lives of
people with disabilities within America and abroad. As a North American
advocate for Life and disability issues, I have wondered why the United States
would sign it. To what advantage? The United States should be teaching the
United Nations about disability rights.
For example, the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets an exceptional standard for real disability inclusion. It is an extraordinary
law that other countries can aspire to imitate, including my country of Canada. For years I advocated that my government
create a “Canadians with Disabilities Act” that mirrored the ADA. A federal statute like this combined with
other federal, provincial and territorial disability legislation and policies is
the best way to address needs, protections, and inclusion of disabled
populations. A blanket international document like the CRPD is too clumsy and
generic to be effective or precise. Unfortunately Canada ratified it in 2010.
Now we have to toe the U.N. line, dutifully submitting our
progress reports ― like a child handing in school assignments for approval. I do not
want America to make the same mistake! As I stated earlier, not only is the
United Nations treaty an inferior and flawed document, it requires ratifying
nations to give up too much of their own sovereignty regarding their citizens with
disabilities. Nations that ratify the CRDP are legally obligated to implement
the treaty’s global legal standards in “civil, political, economic and social
spheres”: In other words, EVERY sphere of life. The CRDP legal standard is
overseen by the ‘benevolent’ tyranny of a UN bureaucratic committee; it will
interpret the treaty and tell ratifying nations what to do. Is this really what
The CRDP is carried along with an air of contemptuous
and condescension for member states. Article 4 says that “States Parties
undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and
fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination
of any kind on the basis of disability.” The United States does not need to be
told this by the U.N.! America is the
greatest defender of human rights and ‘fundamental freedoms’ in the world.
Once the United States is under the thumb of UN
bureaucrats behind the CRDP they can/will declare the U.S. must “take all
appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing
laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against
persons with disabilities.” (Article 4.1.b)
Who will decide what constitutes disability discrimination and which
American laws, regulations customs and practices must be modified or abolished?
A CRDP compliance committee of ‘experts’ will tell America what she must do to adhere
to the treaty’s standards. Once in the CRDP snare, the U.S. cannot re-negotiate
the treaty’s provision that will extend its tentacles even down to family
levels (see Article 8.1.a). It’s too pervasive!
The United States’
Congress will soon be asked to ratify the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities. I implore America not to sign it. Your greatness is found within you by ordinary people doing extraordinary things, not imposed from outside bureaucrats.
(A version of this post appeared on 21 September 2014 in the U.S. Congress blog the hill.com for lawmakers and policy professionals, (http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/218254-us-should-not-sign-un-disability-convention).
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