This just in from my Justice for All news service!
80 Countries Sign UN Convention Protecting Rights of People with Disabilities.
Note the sentence concerning the U.S. vote!
The article that follows is GREAT news 80 countries signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today, on the first day that the Convention opened for signatures. The frustrating news, however, is that the U.S. was not among the signing countries. JFA will send several notices out next week of next steps we can take to apply pressure on the President and the Administration to sign.
19 countries to go before the Convention goes into force – and we’ll make sure the U.S. is one of them!
Stay tuned, JFA Alerts
The full text from the Associated Press:
Eighty countries sign convention protecting rights of the world’s 650 million disabled in show of unprecedented support.
The Associated Press
March 30, 2007
UNITED NATIONS: Eighty countries signed the U.N. convention enshrining the rights of the world’s 650 million disabled people Friday in what the U.N. human rights chief called an unprecedented show of support to empower the physically and mentally impaired.
The United Nations held a ceremony on Friday, the first day the convention opened, for signatures. Not only did 80 countries and the European Community sign it, but Jamaica also announced that it had ratified the convention meaning that only 19 more ratifications are needed before the convention comes into force.
At the ceremony, speaker after speaker urged speedy approval.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour announced the huge level of support at a news conference afterward, saying “It’s certainly unprecedented in terms of support for a human rights instrument, but it’s apparently setting records for the signature of any convention in the United Nations.”
The U.N. General Assembly adopted the 32-page convention by consensus in December, climaxing a campaign spearheaded by disability rights activists and the governments of New Zealand,
Ecuador and Mexico.
“We would not be here today without the sustained efforts of the disability community,” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told Friday’s ceremony.
“In three short years, the convention went from dream to reality,” she said. “On its adoption by the General Assembly late last year, it became the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, and the fastest negotiated international human rights instrument in history.”
The convention is a blueprint to end discrimination and exclusion of the physically and mentally disabled in education, jobs, and everyday life. It requires countries to guarantee freedom from
exploitation and abuse for the disabled, while protecting rights they already have such as ensuring voting rights for the blind and providing wheelchair-accessible buildings.
Arbour said “it’s very appropriate” that the first treaty of the new century “targets a community that has been so marginalized for so long” and that it focuses on rights not just social welfare and programs to meet the needs of the disabled.
She called the convention “a first step” in empowering the disabled, stressing that once it comes into force governments will have to enact legislation and change practices to ensure the
rights of the disabled. She added that an international committee will monitor implementation of the convention.
Yannis Vardakastanis, representing the International Disability Caucus which was in the forefront of the campaign for the convention, congratulated the 80 countries that signed “this
He said it represents “a very drastic” shift in the way the international community looks at disabilities.
According to the latest U.N. figures, about 10 percent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability and the number is increasing with population growth. The disabled
constitute the world’s largest minority, and 80 percent live in developing countries, many in poverty.
The convention advocates keeping the disabled in their communities rather than removing them and educating them separately as many countries do.
It guarantees that the disabled have the inherent right to life on an equal basis with the able-bodied and requires countries to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee equal legal protection. Countries must also ensure the equal right of the disabled to own and inherit property, to control their financial affairs, and to privacy over their personal lives.
“Indeed and in fact it represents the recognition that people with disabilities should be holders of rights,” Vardakastanis said.
“The 650 million persons with disabilities around the world expect and anticipate that this convention will change the real living conditions, that this convention will take away the discrimination, the exclusion, and all the obstacles that people
with disabilities are faced with in their daily lives,” he said.
Source: International Herald Tribune (AP)
For more international news issues, see:
Those of us that are disabled, find injustice everywhere we go, now we must endure worldwide sympathy. BTW, the Administration’s Top person for the ADA. – Alberto Gonzalez!!
I guess he was too busy saving his own hide to worry about 66 million legal residents and their rights!
Also note this got absolutely NO coverage in the American press. A good deal of the blame can go to those that control the press!