WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- This morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took the crucial final step toward ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or Disability Treaty, an international treaty designed to promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities worldwide. The Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, along with representatives from the broad and diverse coalition of business, veterans', and civil rights organizations supporting the treaty reacted to this morning's markup and committee vote.
Marca Bristo, President, U.S. International Council on Disabilities: "We are here today to send a clear message: it is time to ratify the Disability Treaty. Failure by our Senators to ratify this treaty would be a betrayal of the American disability community, who, as recent polling tells us, vote in higher numbers than almost any other group. It is a betrayal that will not be forgotten by these millions of voters, and by our allies in the veterans, business, faith, and civil rights communities who are united in support of the treaty."
Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "There are plenty of reasons to support the Disability Treaty —the most obvious and important one being that it's the right thing to do for people across the globe who are living and working with disabilities. But there are economic and competitiveness benefits for the United States as well. It would create a level playing field for American businesses, leverage the leadership and innovation of American business in setting accessibility standards, and make us more able to do business abroad. Further, the treaty does not impose new requirements on U.S. employers and entities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We urge our leaders to seize the opportunity to boost the U.S. economy and help people with disabilities worldwide by ratifying this treaty."
Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: "This treaty embodies the values supported by the United States Military – the importance of promoting human rights and dignity around the world, and the power of the United States to be a leader in the fight for these ideals. The United States has an obligation not to be a bystander in the fight for rights and dignity for people with disabilities, but to embrace our role as a global leader and extend the rights we've fought for here to the rest of world."
Frances West, Chief Accessibility Officer at IBM and Worldwide Director of the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center: "IBM is confident that US ratification of the CRPD will generate new opportunities for businesses across many different industries. It will also create a global marketplace 'pull' for accessible information and communications technologies, and we believe, reinforce the United States' legacy leadership position as a champion for full societal inclusion of people with disabilities. We believe failure to act, will produce quite the opposite effect over the long term: stifling the ambition and dreams of people with disabilities, choking marketplace opportunities, and jeopardizing the United States' ability to influence the global accessibility community."
Wade Henderson, President/CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: "The United States benefits from a rich history of disability rights legislation that has inspired nations around the world to honor the dignity of people with disabilities, but it is shameful that we still lag behind the global community in ratifying the CRPD. U.S. ratification of the treaty will allow us to once again be a global leader in disability rights, and to amplify the message both here and abroad that disability rights are, indeed, human rights."
SOURCE U.S. International Council on Disabilities