P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Michael Farris Jr.|
|November 5, 2013||(540) 338-5600|
Senate to Hold Hearings on Controversial UN Treaty
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is on the move again as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has confirmed that it will hold hearings on the treaty starting today. The treaty was defeated on the Senate floor last year after it failed to receive the required two-thirds vote, largely because of strong opposition from parental rights and disability rights advocates. President Obama signed the treaty in July 2009, but opponents were quick to point out the dangers this treaty presented to disabled persons in the United States.
“We all want to show our love and care for people with disabilities,” said Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). “This treaty, however, is not the way to do it. This treaty will give United Nations and government agents, not parents, the authority to decide all educational and treatment issues for disabled children. All of the rights that parents have under traditional American law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be undermined by this treaty.”
Farris pointed out that, while supporters of the treaty say that it will not override American law, a recent decision in Hungary showed exactly how the treaty will look if ratified in the United States. The Hungarian constitution did not allow intellectually disabled persons to vote if they were under legal guardianship, but the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities called this law unjust, citing Article 29 of the CRPD as reason to overrule the Hungarian constitution.
“Determining a policy for allowing those with profound intellectual disabilities to exercise the right to vote is a complex and sensitive issue,” Farris said, “but what we know for sure is this: America’s legislators—and not a UN committee—should make this kind of policy decision. Parents in the United States are finding that homeschooling benefits their children with disabilities in more ways than a one-size-fits-all approach can ever achieve. The CRPD puts those rights at risk.”
“We know that the eyes of the nation will be on the Virginia and New Jersey elections, but we can’t ignore the imminent threat posed by today’s hearing on Capitol Hill. We are urging people to call their senators and voice their opposition to the treaty,” said William Estrada, the director of Federal Relations at HSLDA. “This is especially important if your senator is on the Foreign Relations Committee.”
The following senators are on the Foreign Relations Committee: Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Edward Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Edward Shaheen (D-NH), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bob Corker (R-TN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Risch (R-ID), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL). Senators Paul and Rubio have already shown strong opposition to the treaty.