We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Professor Gerard Quinn Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway.
A historic hearing took place yesterday (Thursday, July 11th) in the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The issue before the Committee was US ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In the US system the Senate must gives its ‘advice and consent’ before the Federal Government can ratify a treaty. A two thirds majority vote is needed from the full Senate before the Administration can proceed to ratification. This is an exceedingly high bar but, especially after yesterday, it looks likely to be met. It is now almost a foregone conclusion that the Committee – chaired by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) – will commend a positive vote to the full Senate.
This really matters not just for the US but also for the rest of the world. And it would certainly up the ante for Irish ratification. The traditional bi-partisan approach of the US Congress was splendidly exemplified in opening remarks made to the Committee by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The symbolism of their joint appearance spoke volumes about the natural reflex of both parties in favour of the civil rights of persons with disabilities. Indeed, both of them relayed the support of former President H W Bush as well as former Senator Bob Dole. This immediately took the issue out of the cauldron of partisan politics and placed it where it should be – as matter of high principle. Continue reading “Historic Hearing in US Senate on UN Disability Treaty”