Tell Congress: Support People with Disabilities Worldwide
In July 2009, the United States signed but did not ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). The Convention is based on the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, intended to empower persons with disabilities to be independent and productive citizens.
The need for this treaty is great. Over a billion people across the globe—, around 15 percent of the world's population—live with a disability. It is imperative that the Convention is ratified before Congress recesses by the end of September for the midterm elections. Now is the time to urge your Senators to ratify the Convention and support people with disabilities worldwide.
Watch a video from URJ's Kutz Camp on the importance of supporting people with disabilities worldwide:
In July 2009, the United States signed but did not ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Convention is based on the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, intended to empower persons with disabilities to be independent and productive citizens.
The CRPD represents an international effort to bring the world closer to achieving the goals of equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. There is a great need for this treaty across the globe. Approximately 1 billion people, over 10 percent of the world population, live with a disability—making them the world’s largest minority. In developing countries, 90% of children with disabilities do not attend school. In the United States the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 13.2% in 2013, nearly twice as high as the rate for those without disabilities (which was 7.1%).
The CRPD would also provide significant benefits at home too. It would make traveling and working abroad possible for more Americans, especially those who do so frequently, such as veterans with disabilities or military family members with disabilities.
The CRPD now stands at a crossroads. The CRPD was voted on in the Senate in December 2012, but—despite bipartisan support—failed by just five votes. Now is the time to tell Congress to ratify the CRPD and support people with disabilities worldwide.
The Reform Movement has long supported the rights of people with disabilities, drawing upon what we are taught in Leviticus 19:14, that “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.” We are commanded to be proactive in bringing down barriers placed by society, whether intended or not, before people with disabilities.
The Torah also states that each of us is created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. We are further taught “do not separate yourself from the community” (Pirke Avot 2:5); accordingly, we must prevent anyone from being separated against their will from society by removing barriers to people with disabilities because we are all created in the divine image.
Contact your Senators and urge them to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities before recessing.The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121.