Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke from the Senate floor in support of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Video of Senator Cardin’s remarks can be found here.
“The world watches what the U.S. does and ratifying the CRPD represents an unparalleled opportunity to protect the rights of all people with disabilities, and protecting our own citizens when they are on foreign soil. We should be proud, as Americans, of our Nation’s leadership in making it easier for people with disabilities to participate fully in society, to have equal access to educational, economic, and social opportunities for self-fulfillment and advancement. We should support the CRPD because it will help people with disabilities all over the world. It’s the right thing to do.
“U.S. disability laws are the strongest in the world. Ratification of this treaty will allow us to work with other governments and provide them with a better understanding of how our disability laws work, and how we have successfully balanced pragmatic concerns with the needs of people with disabilities in our laws. When we considered the CRPD in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we added language that explicitly reiterates that the treaty would not require changes to existing U.S. law. This isn’t a race to the bottom that ends up hurting Americans; this is a challenge to other countries to treat people with disabilities the way we do here in America.”
Then-U.S. Representative Cardin voted for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. “The ADA was truly landmark legislation, prohibiting for the first time in American history discrimination against people with disabilities with regard to employment, housing, health services, education, public accommodations, and the many programs and services of state and local governments. The CRPD embodies many of the same ideals the Americans with Disabilities Act promotes: it empowers people with disabilities to be able to make their own choices, to claim personal responsibility for their own lives, and to be independent.”
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