Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that he plans to begin floor consideration of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday.
The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) would pose serious problems for the United States if it were ratified today. Though it is touted as the progeny and logical follow-up to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1991, it is in fact more of a power grab than humanitarian action.
U.S. sovereignty is at issue on a number of fronts, including that the CRPD presumes the establishment of rights contained in treaties that the United States has not ratified, including the International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). These rights are not recognized by the United States Constitution, nor are provided by existing U.S. laws – however U.S. courts could use the ratification of the CRPD to force Americans to comply with other UN treaties which are against American interests.
The original ADA equally protects the rights of all parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children, regardless of the disability status of parent or child. The CRPD would take away this right, obligating our government to ensure that “in all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” The phrase “best interests of the child” is an international law “term of art,” its meaning firmly established through consistent application by other bodies, including the Committee on the Rights of the Child. As one international legal scholar explains, “Best interests provides decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents’ provided it is based on consideration of the best interests of the child.” In ratifying the CRPD, the government would apply this standard only to parents of disabled children – a position antithetical to the protection for parents provided by the ADA.