No More Stumbling Blocks

Earlier this month, the UN held its Eighth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2006, is based on the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is intended to empower persons with disabilities to be independent and productive. CRPD 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.

Today, there are an estimated one billion people living with a disability worldwide. In developing countries, children with disabilities attend school at a lower rate than their peers and people with disabilities access employment and health services at a lower rate than the general population.  CRPD was written in order to address these issues empower persons with disabilities across the globe to be independent and productive citizens.

Yet, despite the fact that 154 countries have ratified the treaty and that the treaty is based on the ideals of the ADA, the US has still failed to ratify CRPD. Although the U.S. signed the treaty in 2009, the 2012 vote to ratify the treaty failed by five votes in the U.S. Senate two years ago. Last September, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) requested unanimous consent to debate and vote on the ratification of CRPD but other senators objected to his request and thus there was not a vote.

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).  We know that stumbling blocks come in all shapes and sizes— and people with disabilities, some 10% of the world’s population, who make up the world’s largest minority today, face too many of them. As we approach the 25-year anniversary of the ADA next month, it’s important to recognize that we still have more to do as a country in order to advance disability rights worldwide. Urge your Senator to support the ratification of CRPD!


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Jordan Dashow

About Jordan Dashow

Jordan Dashow is a 2014-2015 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. He graduated in 2014 from Tufts University and is originally from Plainview, NY where he is a member of Manetto Hill Jewish Center.

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