Thursday, July 30, 2009

U.S. Signs Disability Rights Treaty

As President Obama announced on Friday, today Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York. The president will submit the treaty to the U.S. Senate, which needs to ratify it.

According to the Associated Press, Rice said the treaty "symbolizes that the United States is recommitting itself to upholding human rights through multilateral institutions. It is symbolic of the president's determination to adhere universally to those principles that he has championed and that the United States stands for domestically....

"We all still have a great deal more to do at home and abroad. As President Obama has noted, people with disabilities far too often lack the choice to live in communities of their own choosing; their unemployment rate is much higher than those without disabilities; they are much more likely to live in poverty; health care is out of reach for far too many; and too many children with disabilities are denied a world-class education."

The treaty, already signed by 140 countries, is designed to end discrimination and exclusion of people with physically and mentally disabilities. About 10 percent of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with a disability.
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