Saturday, October 26, 2013

Call Key Senate Committee to Ratify Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities ( CRPD ); Protect People with Disabilities World-Wide

PLEASE CALL THESE KEY SENATORS ON THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE AND ASK THEM TO SUPPORT THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES!  The treaty will come before the committee on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 for hearings, and so this is the critical week to call!  If it is impossible or very difficult for you to call, please send an email. 
Sen. Bob Corker:   202-224-3344  (Most Important; Senior Republican on the Committee).  If you only have time to make one call, call Senator Corker.
Sen. Jeff Flake: 202-224-4521
Sen. Ron Johnson: 202-224-5323
Sen. Jim Risch: 202-224-2752
Sen. Marco Rubio: 202-224-3041
Sen. Rand Paul: 202-224-4343

Sen. Robert Menendez: 202-224-4744  (Chair; Senior  Majority member)

THEN PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL YOUR OWN SENATORS AND ASK THEM TO VOTE TO RATIFY THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ( CRPD ). 202-224-3121 or send an email at  Those who oppose the CRPD are pushing back hard.  The treaty will come up for a hearing on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 and the Senate needs to hear from you now! Call your Senators and ask them to support for and vote for the Convention!  Protect all people with disabilities world-wide!

Short Sample Message to Your Senator:
You can cut and past this paragraph into an email, if you like or write your own:

Please vote to ratify the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).   Ratifying the CRPD is important so that America can lead the rest of the world to adopt legislation and policies that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities, just as we have in the United States.  The CRPD will help other countries adopt laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and enpower people with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society. Thank you.

More About the CRPD

Ratifying the CRPD is important so that America can lead the rest of the world to adopt legislation and policies that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities, just as we have in the United States.  The CRPD is designed to bring protections and rights for people with disabilities worldwide.  Of 1 billion people with disabilities, 80% live in developing countries.  Many lack the basic protections we have in America under the ADA, 504, IDEA, and other important laws.  Ratifying the CRPD will allow the United States to take a leadership role in helping these nations craft similar laws. The CRPD has bipartisan support, including Senator Tom Harkin, Former Senator Bob Dole, President George H.W. Bush, and Attorney General Dick Thornburgh.

Ratifying the CRPD means that America can advocate through the treaty process for the same basic principles worldwide that we all advocate for—the same rights in the ADA, 504, IDEA, etc.   Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for All.  Full Inclusion in Society.  End Discrimination against People with Disabilities. Universally-Designed Goods, Services, and Equipment.  Use of Assistive Technology, Augmentative Communications, Braille, Sign Language, and Other Necessary Devices and Supports.  Increase Accessibility.  End the Exclusion of Students with Disabilities from General Education or Free Education.  Seek “An Inclusive, Quality and Free Primary Education and Secondary Education [for Children with Disabilities] on an Equal Basis with Others in The Communities in Which They Live.”  “Reasonable Accommodations” and Supports to Obtain Employment, an Effective Education and Inclusion in Society.  End Abuse, Torture, and Mistreatment of People with Disabilities.  You can read the full treaty here.

Autism occurs throughout the world in people of all racial, ethnic and social backgrounds.  But some foreign countries do not recognize the existence of autism.  In those countries, people with autism may get no supports. They may be wrongly diagnosed with disorders they do not have.  They may be assumed incapable of learning and working.  They may be institutionalized, kept away from their families and communities.  Ratifying the CRPD will enable the United States ensure that citizens of these countries who have autism are integrated in society and receive rights like those the Americans with Disabilities Act created for our country.

The CRPD will protect Americans with disabilities who work and travel abroad.  These Americans face constant barriers and discrimination abroad. By ratifying the CRPD, the U.S. will offer decades of honed technical expertise to reduce barriers globally and ensure that Americans who travel and study abroad have the same access they enjoy here.
The CRPD will not cost the United States any extra money.  The United States will not need to change its laws.  We will continue to follow the laws we have about disabilities and other issues at the federal and state levels.   Education, homeschooling, and parental rights will remain a matter of state law--the treaty will not change those rights at all.  The treaty ratification documents contain "reservations" that protect these issues for state law.  Some people think that the CPRD will somehow affect America's homeschooling laws, but it won't.  Homeschooling will still be subject to state laws and those state laws won't be changed by the CPRD (and cannot be changed by the CPRD).  You can continue to homeschool just like you always do. 

For the CRPD to be ratified by the United States, it must be approved by the U.S. Senate. This means that 67 Senators (2/3 of the Senate) must vote in favor.  It is important that every Senator be contacted and asked to vote for ratification.

The CRPD has been scheduled for hearings on November 5 and November 12.  After that, the entire Senate can consider it.  That's why its important for you to contact your Senators and ask them to support the CPRD.  Contact your Senators' office (preferably by phone call) and ask them to support the CRPD! Please tell your Senator's staff, “I am a constituent from your state and I support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Please support the Convention when it comes up for a vote. The CRPD is in the United States’ interests. It protects our citizens and veterans abroad, and it is vital to achieving the same goals as our disability laws, the ADA and many others.” 

Calling Senators is best because they know it takes a more effort than copying and pasting an email. So, they count it more.  But we recognize that some people cannot call, due to a disability or for another reason.  In that case, please email. If you can ask a friend to call, that will help too.

Thank You,
The Autism National Committee

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