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U.S. can better ensure rights by refusing to sign U.N. treaty

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 2:30 p.m. CDT

About two weeks ago, the U.S . Senate failed to get a 2/3 majoity vote to pass the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty that would have become the “supreme Law of the Land” based upon the Supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI).

The testimony from the Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing is here: http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/hearing_convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-treaty-doc-112-7.

Some things discussed are good:  The U.S. is a leader in rights for persons with disabilities. We would like to be able to help those in other countries to improve the situations for all people, including those with disabilities. The UN is trying to protect people from abuses.

My concerns came when some Senators and witnesses (with experience in U.S. and international law) shared how ratifying this treaty would cause the U.S. to need to comply with an international committee’s interpretation of whether or not we are meeting its requirements.

Because of international law and what the U.S. Constitution says about treaties, the rights that so many have fought for would be replaced by what is written at the U.N. There are other concerns, but there is simply not enough space here to address them.

The best way for the U.S. to lead is by continuing to work for the rights of persons with disabilities within our country and around the world without ratifying this treaty.  As strange as it may seem, enacting this treaty would most likely take away from the rights of persons in the U.S., rather than protecting them.

Those who want to ratify the treaty will likely bring it forward for a vote again next year. I encourage you to look into the treaty and its ramifications. Contact your Senators and let them know your concerns.

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