CRPD Treaty Facts

The Arc of the United States and The Arc of Indiana, along with a broad coalition of organizations, is working for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) treaty.

Read the FAQ below to learn about the CRPD Treaty and what you can do to inform Senator Coats and Senator Donnelly about the importance of ratifying the CRPD, and listen to our podcast, “A View into the CRPD Treaty,” as Michelle Fischer, the host of A View from My Window, talks with Associate Executive Director Kim Dodson and SAI President Melody Cooper about the importance of ratifying the treaty.

What is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international disability treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. The CRPD is a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities.

Why is this Treaty Important?

Ratification of the CRPD Exports U.S. Leadership

  • The ADA should be a model for other countries to eliminate disability discrimination worldwide
  • Ratifying the Disability Treaty will allow the U.S. to maintain its leadership role and legitimacy to export the ADA model abroad
  • Ratification gives the U.S. an opportunity to plan an important role in developing disability rights worldwide without having to change any U.S. laws or add any additional costs to its budget

CRPD Ratification Improves Global Accessibility

  • American travelers and their companions face constant barriers and discrimination abroad
  • Many students with disabilities are unable to travel abroad because of their fear of discrimination; in fact, they represent less than 4% of students that travel abroad
  • By ratifying the CRPD, the U.S. will reduce barriers globally and ensure that Americans who travel and study abroad have the same access they enjoy here

CRPD Ratification Ensures Humane and Moral Treatment 

  • Without laws like the ADA abroad, millions of children and adults with disabilities are housed in institutions without a family life, community resources, or access to the most basic civil rights like a birth certificate or even a name
  • Until it ratifies the CRPD, the U.S. is a bystander on these critical matters

Who Supports the Treaty?

Politicians on both sides of the aisle

  • Republican leaders of disability legislation support ratification of the CRPD including former President George H.W. Bush, former Senator Bob Dole, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray
  • Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Barrasso (R-WY) led the treaty ratification effort with Senators Kerry (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), and Harkin (D-IA)

Disability Organizations

  • Over 350 organizations that represent the interests of disabled Americans support the U.S. ratification of the CRPD

Veterans Service Organizations

  • 21 veterans service organizations including Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Wounded Warrior Project support ratification of the CRPD
  • These groups recognize that our 5.5 million American veterans with disabilities will have greater opportunities to work, study, and travel abroad as countries implement the CRPD with leadership from the U.S.

U.S. Business

  • The Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and the Information Technology Industry Council support U.S. ratification of the CRPD
  • CRPD will benefit American business interests abroad by giving the U.S. a role in holding other countries to the level of accessibility required in the U.S. by the ADA, which will greatly expand the pool of available workers for positions in U.S. businesses abroad
  • U.S. corporations engineer, manufacture, and sell many disability-accessible products; an active U.S. role in CRPD implementation enhances the ability of U.S. businesses to meet the demands of the world’s population of 1 billion people with disabilities and access this market

Faith Organizations

  • 26 leading faith organizations also support U.S. ratification

Quick Stats about the World’s Largest Minority

  • 57.8 million Americans have one or more disabilities
  • 5.5 million American veterans are people with disabilities
  • 1 billion people with disabilities around the world
  • 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries
  • 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will be disabled before they retire
  • 80% of people with disabilities live in isolated rural areas

Why Hasn’t the U.S. Already Ratified the Treaty?

The United States signed the CRPD in 2009. In December 2012 the United States Senate considered the ratification of the CRPD but fell 5 votes short of the super-majority vote required. The CRPD’s Senate leaders remain committed to bringing the treaty up in the 113th Congress, and soon those Senators who voted against this crucial treaty will have an opportunity to do the right thing and vote to ratify the disability treaty.

Messages for Senator Coats and Senator Donnelly 

  • The Senate came within 5 votes of ratifying the CRPD in December, 2012. Now, you have an opportunity to do the right thing by voting to ratify the CRPD.
  • Ratification of the CRPD is supported by hundreds of disability organizations, veterans groups, faith organizations and major business groups including the Chamber of Commerce.
  • It is time for Congress to prove that the United States can play a leadership role in eliminating disability discrimination throughout the world.
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