September 23, 2014

Senate rejects UN treaty on disability rights

The U.S. Senate has fails to ratify an international treaty intended to protect the rights of those with disabilities. Conservative Republicans, including Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, opposed the U.N. treaty, believing it could interfere with U.S. law. “It’s disappointing that we could not get enough votes to pass this treaty,” said Disability Rights Wisconsin Executive Director Tom Masseau.

Masseau noted that the treaty had the support of such Republicans as Bob Dole and the first President Bush. “We just can’t muster enough votes for he it,” he said. The Senate voted 61 to 38 to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, a tally that fell short of the two-thirds needed.

The 2006 treaty aims to encourage other nations to adopt American standards of disability rights, but some conservatives feared it would allow the U.N. to violate the rights of parents with disabled children.