Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

U.S. Senate Fails to Approve United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

U.S. Senate Fails to Approve United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article excerpt

The U.S. Senate recently blocked ratification of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The final vote (61 to 38) fell short of the two-thirds necessary for ratification. In reaction to the vote, carl R. Augusto, president and chief executive officer, American Foundation for the Blind, said,

   On behalf of the one billion people living
   with disabilities around the globe, we are
   extremely disheartened by today's Senate
   vote.... This was an opportunity for
   the U.S. to demonstrate true leadership
   and help a billion people around the
   globe achieve their full potential and enjoy
   life. Instead, partisan politics stood in
   the way. We hope the people who care
   about this issue will take to task the 38
   senators who refused to ratify this life changing
   treaty. This is a sad day for
   disability rights.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted on December 13, 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century, and it follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities around the world. The intention of the convention is to shift the worldview, according to the UN, of "viewing persons with disabilities as 'objects' of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as 'subjects' with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society. …

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