November 27, 2012
The Senate could vote this week on a new United Nations treaty intended to protect people with disabilities.
But in testimony earlier this year before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Heritage Foundation expert Steve Groves argued that ratifying the treaty is both harmful to American sovereignty and unnecessary to protect the rights of the disabled.
Groves, who works in Heritage’s Thatcher Center, pointed out that a vast array of federal, state and local laws already protects people with disabilities. Ratifying the treaty would only make American laws subject to review by international bureaucrats who aren’t looking out for our nation’s interests.
An excerpt from his testimony:
The United States should not ratify the CRPD if membership would not advance U.S. national interests at home or abroad. The Administration concedes that U.S. membership in the Convention would not advance the cause of persons with disabilities living in the United States since the United States already has in place comprehensive statutory, regulatory, and enforcement mechanisms regarding disability rights.
The question remains whether membership in the Convention would advance national interests in the international sphere. Joining the Convention is unlikely to advance U.S. national interests abroad, but instead would obligate the United States to answer to a committee of “disability experts” in violation of principles of U.S. sovereignty. The United States need not become party to the Convention to demonstrate its strong commitment to disability rights to the international community. Nor is there any evidence that U.S. ratification would enhance the ability of the U.S. government or non-governmental organizations to promote disability rights in foreign countries.
What do you think? Should the United States ratify this U.N. treaty?