The United States is the world leader regarding the rights of people with disabilities. But a United Nations treaty seeks to use Americans’ concern for the disabled to undermine U.S. sovereignty.
It’s time for proponents of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to come clean about this treaty. They claim, falsely, that it would help Americans with disabilities who are traveling abroad. But as Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said at The Heritage Foundation recently:
Ratification is not going to materially change the degree of compliance by foreign nations, but it is going to open avenues to undermine sovereignty and challenge U.S. law.
Cruz highlighted the treaty’s danger to American sovereignty and exposed as false the oft-repeated but completely empty promise made by the CRPD’s proponents to Americans with disabilities that the treaty will benefit them when they travel abroad. In fact, U.S. ratification of the CRPD would provide no benefit to disabled Americans, but would have a pernicious and lasting effect on American sovereignty.
The CRPD was the subject of a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Tuesday, a hearing where this empty promise to Americans with disabilities was shamefully repeated by Democratic Senators and witnesses. It is untrue and unfair. U.S. ratification of the treaty would do nothing to improve accessibility in foreign nations that also ratify the treaty. No evidence to the contrary exists, nor will it ever exist.
The CRPD will likewise not benefit Americans with disabilities at home; existing U.S. laws and court decisions already protect and advance the rights of Americans with disabilities.
The Heritage Foundation recognizes the CRPD would actually degrade America’s position as the international gold standard on the rights and protections of persons with disabilities:
Ratification does not enhance U.S. leadership on international disability rights—it squanders America’s exceptional position as the world’s preeminent protector of disability rights.
As Senator Cruz illustrated in his remarks, the CRPD would also imperil U.S. sovereignty by opening the nation up to litigation from international actors, who would seek to subjugate U.S. law and judicial decisions to international laws and precedents.