WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to ensure that disabled citizens have equal rights, protections, and opportunities in the United States and abroad, U.S. Senator Jack Reed is urging his colleagues to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“Disability rights are human rights.  This is about equality, accessibility, and ensuring people with disabilities have the same rights and are treated with the same dignity as others.  Ratifying this treaty will encourage other countries to end disability discrimination policies and adopt American accessibility standards.  It will give more people the opportunity to live, work, and travel abroad without undue barriers,” said Reed.  “Today’s bipartisan 12-6 vote in the Foreign Relations Committee to advance this measure will hopefully give this effort momentum and send a signal that the U.S. continues to be a leader in disability rights.”

The CRPD, or Disabilities Treaty, is based on the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It seeks to maintain U.S. leadership in addressing disability rights and eliminating disability discrimination throughout the world without having to change U.S. laws or increase the budget.  More than 150 countries -- including the United States -- have signed the pact to establish global standards for the treatment of individuals with disabilities, and it is backed by a broad coalition that includes the White House, former President George H.W. Bush, and more than 900 business, disability, and veterans' advocacy groups.

In 2012, the last time the treaty was considered by the full Senate, Reed supported ratification.  However, on a 61-38 vote, the treaty fell five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for ratification, despite former Senator Bob Dole’s (R-KS) appearance on the floor to personally urge support.