Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Tears of Shame and Embarrassment"

I had been searching for a news story about the United States and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and had found next to nothing. Thanks to Steve Kuusisto, for connecting me to this link. Like me, Steve is outraged that the United States has thus far failed to sign this important convention. The US did not even send a representative to the UN signing ceremony!

John Lancaster, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living and President of the United States International Council on Disabilily, attended the treaty signing ceremon. Here's what he had to say:

"As I sat in the observers' area on the floor of the UN's General Assembly Hall, delegates from 80 nations and the European Community took their turn at the official signing table to commit their country to the human and civil rights of people with disabilities. At several points, my eyes welled with tears. They should have been tears of joy and pride as an American, as a citizen in the country that had created this world-wide movement for the rights and empowerment of people with disabilities. Instead, they were tears of shame and embarrassment..."
Andrew Imparto, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, summarizes the importance of this UN Disability Convention:
"The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides the opportunity for tides of change across the globe. Because we've had 17 years to begin to see what a society can look like when people with disabilities enjoy broad civil rights protections, we must stay involved, sign, and continue to lead. If the U.S. is to remain a visionary leader on the rights of people with disabilities, it cannot stand by idly. Rather, with the same bipartisan enthusiasm as was seen in the signing of the ADA, the U.S. must sign and ratify the treaty and take a lead role in translating broad commitments into national action - to live up to our status as a world leader in the global fight for disability rights."

Over 80 countries, including Canada and Mexico, have signed this treaty supporting basic human rights for people with disabilities. The U.S. has not. Please sign this petition urging President Bush to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Description of pictures: one shows a sad eye, overflowing with a tear and the other one shows the UN flag

2 comments:

andrea said...

Thanks for posting that ink -- I'd looked around a number of pages of the UN Web site trying to find ouf if the US had signed, and couldn't determine it one way or another. It's sad, but not terribly surprising, as the US doesn't seem to be signing a lot of things related to social activism (Kyoto Treaty, et cetera).

Michelle said...

thanks for making us aware about the petition; I'm going over to sign it now.