#SOTU: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
This is the third post in a series on the RAC’s expectations and hopes for President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 28th.
As Reform Jews, we are committed to upholding the commandment, “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14). Stumbling blocks come in all shapes and sizes: today, there are 650 million people worldwide living with a disability, constituting the world’s largest minority group. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), based on the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is intended to empower persons with disabilities to be independent and productive citizens. It represents an international effort to bring the world closer to achieving the goals of equality, opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.
One hope for the State of the Union on Tuesday evening is that President Obama will demonstrate his Administration’s commitment to ratifying the CRPD by discussing its importance. The CRPD provides benefits to Americans with disabilities who wish to travel and study abroad, as well as to military men and women who have family members with disabilities. Ratification of the CRPD would show the serious commitment of the U.S. to disability rights both at home and abroad. Ratification of the CRPD would present the opportunity for a reaffirmation of the values we have already committed to in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and provide the forum to advance these values worldwide.
President Obama signed the treaty in July of 2009, but the Senate has not yet ratified the CRPD. Take a moment to urge your Senators to support people with disabilities worldwide by ratifying the CRPD and tell us, if you were President, what would you talk about in your State of the Union?