Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why Should the U.N. Dictate Disability Rights?

Christopher Santarelli's report shows his surprise that many Americans thought the United Nations should not be imposing "treaties" that dictate domestic laws to member countries...even when the laws in question seem as benign as, yes, the rights of people with disabilities.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/anderson-cooper-and-gop-senator-clash-during-interview-on-u-n-disability-treaty/

This web site agrees with Senator Lee's position. Nobody in their right mind wants to exclude people with disabilities from anything; after all, at some point in our lives practically of us are going to be people with disabilities. But what does the United Nations have to do with it? Properly, nothing.

The United Nations exists to serve as a mediator between countries on the brink of war. If the United Nations has time and money to spend on other things, that is an indicator that the United Nations has too much time and money, and needs its budget defunded. The United Nations must not be allowed to mistake itself for the kind of one-world government people like Hitler and Stalin used to want.

In the interest of fair disclosure, this web site will mention that we've received e-mail from Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, neither of whom opposed the treaty. Because the idea of disability rights seems like such a nice, fair, likeable thing that any nice person wants to support.

Senator Warner wrote:

"The U.N. regularly drafts and proposes treaties on a variety of issues that the United States has the ability to consider as a member of the organization. Any U.N. treaty must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate to be applicable to the United States. However, U.N. treaties do not trump the United States Constitution.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was negotiated and approved by an American delegation under President George W. Bush in 2006. The U.S. signed the accord on July 30, 2009. The Senate is now considering the convention. As of July 19, 2012, 153 countries have signed the treaty and 112 of those have ratified it.

I have heard from many concerned constituents about CRPD, and I realize there are strong feelings on whether Congress should ratify the convention. Opponents argue that ratifying it might undermine U.S. sovereignty. Supporters counter that current federal and state laws are consistent with the provisions of the CRPD and ratifying the treaty would strengthen the rights of individuals with disabilities nationally and abroad. As the ongoing debate unfolds, I will keep your thoughts in mind should the treaty come before me for a vote in the Senate.

Again, thank you for contacting me. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at http://warner.senate.gov."

(We have signed up for his newsletter at least three times but, due to technological problems no doubt, don't receive it.)

Senator Webb wrote:

"The CRPD, which entered into force in 2008, is an international non-discrimination treaty that seeks to promote the equal rights of disabled people throughout the world. It proposes to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” Currently, 153 countries have signed the Convention, and 112 have ratified it. The United States signed the CRPD in 2009, and submitted it to Congress for final ratification in May 2012.
This Convention has received overwhelming support from veterans groups and disability rights organizations, who contend that U.S. leadership in the Convention is essential to promote and advance best practices for global disability standards. Furthermore, U.S. domestic law already fulfills or exceeds the objectives of the Convention.

On July 26, 2012, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted to ratify the treaty, and it is now pending consideration before the full Senate. I fully appreciate the concerns that some have raised about this treaty. After careful review and consideration, as a member of this Committee I voted to advance the treaty because I am satisfied that the reservations, understandings, and declarations included in the resolution of ratification address these concerns and ensure that the Convention will have no effect on the rights of states, parental rights, or reproductive health rights in the United States.

I agree that we must be vigilant against the possible infringement on U.S. sovereignty by the UN or other multilateral organizations. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor U.S. participation in the UN, as well as proposed international treaties, while keeping your views in mind. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I appreciate having the benefit of your views. I would also invite you to visit my website at www.webb.senate.gov for regular updates about my activities and positions on issues that are important to our nation."
 
We think a key point has been overlooked by those members of Congress who supported the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If the language in this treaty would have no effect on the relevant laws in effect in the United States, why would the United States need to sign it, except as a "bow to foreign leaders"--a declaration that the United Nations has a right to dictate policy to the United States. That's precisely why I say the United States should not sign, ratify, support, or tolerate any United Nations proposal of this kind.
 
People with disabilities are already entitled to equal access to everything that's accessible to the general public in the United States. Often they don't actually get equal enjoyment of something they have a legal right to enjoy. Obviously that's not because teachers don't want credit for teaching students with disabilities (they do) or storekeepers don't want the profit from selling merchandise to customers with disabilities (oh, how they do!), but because they either don't know how, or can't afford, to make facilities equally accessible to everyone. Even in the United States there's a lot left for disability activists to do. But the United Nations isn't the one, or the group, to do it.