Historic Hearing in US Senate on UN Disability Treaty

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”

Historic Hearing in US Senate on UN Disability Treaty

Third session of the Conference of States Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Third Session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is currently underway at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York.  The third session began today and concludes Friday.  The theme of this session is “Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities through the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.  The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly by resolution in December 2006 and the Convention was opened for signature in 2007.  Article 40 of the Convention requires that “[t]he States Parties shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention.”

Importantly this session will begin with the election of members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  There will also be substantive Continue reading “Third session of the Conference of States Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”

Third session of the Conference of States Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities