Senate to vote on ratification of U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty

On July 21, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty, sending it to the Senate floor. In order for the United States to join the other 147 countries that have ratified the treaty, the treaty will need to be approved by two-thirds of the voting senators and then signed by the president. The treaty requires the following provisions from all countries that have ratified it:

  • Non-discrimination against individuals with disabilities
  • Allowing individuals with disabilities full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • Respect for differences and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  • Equality of opportunity for individuals with disabilities

The treaty is a significant step forward promoting and ensure disability rights. Earlier this year, NCRA, through the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance, took submitted letters to all senators, asking for their support in ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Last congress, the CRPD failed to secure the two-thirds of all senators, with all 54 Democrats and seven Republicans voting in favor. Thirty-eight Republicans voted against the treaty.

NCRA needs your help to pass the CRPD treaty. To submit a letter in support of the treaty, visit and use their online resources. To view the letter that was submitted by the DHHA previously, click here. If you have any questions, contact NCRA’s government relations department.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to support CRPD Treaty

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.