One of VetsFirst’s top public policy priorities for 2013 is to continue to push for the United States to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The CRPD is a UN human rights treaty that promotes the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act around the world. The treaty sets out the obligations of countries that ratify it to promote, protect, fulfill, and ensure the rights of people with disabilities. To date, 156 nations have signed the treaty, including the United States, and 128 nations have ratified it.

On December 4, 2012, the treaty was brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate for ratification. While former Senator and disabled veteran Bob Dole looked on, the Senate voted not to ratify the treaty by a final vote of 61 to 38. Sixty-six votes were needed to ratify the CRPD.

The majority of opposition to the CRPD was based on misinformation about the impact of the treaty on our nation’s sovereignty and the ability of parents to homeschool their children. In fact, the CRPD would neither endanger our nation’s sovereignty nor would it lessen parental rights.

Because the previous session of Congress ended, the CRPD was returned to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We hope that hearings will begin in the Committee in the next few months. We have been assured by Democratic Leaders in the Senate that the CRPD remains a top priority.

In the meantime, we will continue to educate Senators about the treaty and its importance to furthering the rights of people with disabilities.