On Nov. 5, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in an effort to garner the support of two-thirds of the Senate, the amount needed for ratification. The CRPD was the first international treaty created to protect disability rights on a global scale, and it establishes a standard to help people with disabilities participate in society.
The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006, and it has since been signed and ratified by 132 countries. Despite the treaty being modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. has not yet ratified it. Adoption of the CRPD would not require any changes in U.S. law; instead, the treaty would serve as a model for other countries that have yet to accept its conditions.
President Obama signed the treaty in 2009. On Dec. 4, 2012, the U.S. Senate considered ratification, but, despite intense lobbying, it fell just five votes shy of the required two-thirds majority.
Last year, NCRA, through the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Alliance, submitted a letter to all senators, asking for their full support. NCRA continues to stand ready to work with the U.S. Senate to ratify the CRPD, and the association is optimistic that ratification will occur this session.