Republican politician Rick Santorum posted on his blog that he was against the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). He thinks it is going to take away the rights of parents to make decisions regarding their children. I have read the CRPD, and it says no such thing.
What is the CRPD? It stands for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The United Nations has put together a series of protections for children and adults who have disabilities. The purpose “is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”.
The CRPD was adopted on December 13, 2006 at the United Nation’s Headquarters in New York. By April of 2012, there were 153 signatories to the treaty, including the United States, (which signed the CRPD on July 30, 2009). A total of 112 countries have ratified the CRPD. The United States is not among those countries. There will be a Senate hearing soon that could result in President Obama ratifying the CRPD.
It is worth noting that the CRPD is not a legally binding instrument. Instead, it represents a strong moral and political commitment of a Government to take action to help people with disabilities to attain equalization.
Republican politician Rick Santorum posted a blog that states that he is against the idea of the United States signing the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Parents of children who have disabilities should know that Mr. Santorum has some misinformation in his blog. For example, he said:
“If ratified CRPD would become the law of the land under the U.S Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, and it would trump state laws, and could be used as precedent by state and federal judges”.
That isn’t true. As previously stated, the CRPD is not a legally binding instrument. It isn’t a law. It is an agreement help people with disabilities to attain equality. The Supremacy Clause is Article V1, Section 2, of the United States Constitution. The short definition of this clause can be described as the part that gives the federal government the ability to have federal laws prevail over conflicting or inconsistent state exercises of power. This is irrelevant in this case, because, as I stated before, the CRPD is not a law.
Mr. Santorum also tries to make you believe that the federal government can use the provisions of the CRPD to “potentially eradicate parental rights for the education of children with disabilities”. This is not true either, again, because the CRPD is not a law. There is a part of the CRPD that talks about Education. It is Article 24. Read it over. You won’t find anywhere that states that the CRPD will “eradicate parental rights for the education of children with disabilities”. Instead, the CRPD calls for things like ensuring that kids with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability. It calls for kids with disabilities to receive the support required within the general education system.
Article 7 is called “Children With Disabilities”. It calls for actions to ensure “the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children”. It states “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration”. I cannot understand how Mr. Santorum could consider these things to be something we, as a nation, should not strive for.
Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr