Fieldnotes: Absence of the United States from the Convention on Disability Rights

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I was curious about the absence of the United States from the process and asked NGOs about this. Apparently the United States indicated very early on in the process in the second session that they would not be signing the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities:

It is the position of the United States today that, given the complex set of regulations needed to canvass this broad area, and the enforcement mechanisms necessary to ensure equal opportunity for those with disabilities, the most constructive way to proceed is for each Member State, through action and leadership at home, to pursue within its borders the mission of ensuring that real change and real improvement is brought to their citizens with disabilities.

Thus we hope to participate in order to share our experiences and to offer technical assistance if desired on key principles and elements but given our comprehensive domestic laws protecting those with disabilities, not with the expectation that we will become party to any resulting legal instrument. This may be true also of other delegations representing States with well developed legal protections. (Ralph Boyd for the USA [6/18/2003])

Ralph Boyd, the US Assistant AG for the United States, made the statement above for the US government. In it, he stated that America was a leader in disability rights legislation. While this might have been the case 10 years ago, in the last ten years, the ADA, IDEA, and Rehabilitation Act have all been considerably weakened in the last ten years. It's regrettable that the USA which used to be a global leader in civil rights has fallen so far behind. If the USA did sign the International Convention, it would have to do a considerable amount of work in order to catch up with the standards being set in the document.

2 Comments

Karen, the US indicated "early on" ... just how long ago was that. More specifically, under which administration was that?

I financed my PhD by working part-time at an institution for disabled people, both mentally and physically (mentally, of course, if you'd been confined to an institution all your life).

Sorry, I should have read the whole post, not just the intro on the main page. Now I see it was in 2003.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on August 5, 2005 6:02 PM.

Fieldnotes: Right to choose (or not?) was the previous entry in this blog.

Link: D.C. Settles With Wrongly Imprisoned Man is the next entry in this blog.

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