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Senate’s failure to pass U.N. Convention a travesty

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 5:00 a.m. CST

To the Editor:

I have had my disability for 56 years. It has been my privilege to have been a part of the Independent Living/Disability Rights Movement for 27 years.

During that time, people with disabilities have fought for and won numerous battles in our fight for equality.  Illinois has several laws that protect the civil rights of its citizens with disabilities.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, guaranteeing that disabled Americans finally enjoyed equal rights. There have also been numerous setbacks in our struggle for equality.

However, the U.S. Senate’s rejection of that United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is deplorable.

This treaty would have simply provided a legal and moral framework for activists to push for disability rights legislation policies in their own countries.  The treaty would have had little or no impact on the United States.

Yet, despite the fact that Presi-dent George H. W. Bush and former Senator Robert Dole (who is a WWII disabled veteran) supported this treaty, it was rejected along political lines.

I have read and heard many of the reasons why some Senators rejected the treaty. None of their reasons had anything at all to do with the treaty’s wording.

In fact, most, if not all of the so-called reasons were preposterous. I am simply dumbfounded that this treaty, which had no enforcement powers, was rejected simply for partisan reasons.

My hope is that the Senators who voted against the treaty will hear from their constituents with disabilities who will express their outrage on this travesty.

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