Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oh Goody, More Partisan Nonsense - and Persons with Disabilities Get to Pay the Price

I was disgusted to see that 38 Senate Republicans prevented the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from being ratified earlier this week.  The surprisingly controversial treaty did little more than internationalize the protections already enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, which I think most Americans would agree has been a force for tremendous good in this country.

This is particularly astonishing when you consider the fact that, way back in 1990, the ADA passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in a final vote of 91-6.  In fact, six of the Republicans who voted against the UN treaty actually supported the ADA over 20 years ago.  If that isn't a sobering reminder of just how far right our political landscape has swung over the past two decades, then I don't know what is.

It's deeply embarrassing to live in a country where conservatives view every attempt at international cooperation as a threat to American sovereignty.  I don't know how anyone expects to make things better without working together.  I can only hope that, over the next decade, we see a significant uptick in the common sense and cooperative spirit that the GOP's current leaders are clearly lacking.

The Gentle Mom


  1. The fact that you think the UN has any sort of actual power is the more sobering reality that people actually still put faith into this gigantic useless organization that does essentially nothing.

    Persons with disabilities will pay the price? Where? In America? No. Canada? No. Europe? No.

    Would this have helped any persons with disabilities in other countries? No, because UN sanctions have essentially never worked and only when individual countries put trade embargoes and hit countries in the wallet did they listen.

    The UN is little more than a playground for the security council to pretend they're playing nice with the rest of the world.

    It's essentially a lame horse in need of being put down. Luckily unlike the WTO it isn't actually harming any developing countries.

  2. I disagree. I think the UN can still be a tremendous force for good, particularly when drafting conventions like this one. Of course there's a LOT of reform to be done, but that doesn't detract from the importance of these types of resolutions.

    Will this convention change things for persons with disabilities in the US, the UK/Commonwealth, or Western Europe? Not really, no. But it WILL have an impact in economically developing countries, where local laws do little or nothing to protect individuals with disabilities. And failure to comply with a ratified UN treaty can, in fact, lead to economic sanctions, the forfeit of aid, etc - so there are consequences if ratifying countries continue to violate the rights of persons with disabilities.


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