UN disabilities treaty rejected by US Senate


The US Capitol building in Washington DC.


Brendan Hoffman

The US Senate on Tuesday voted against the United States' signing a United Nations treaty that declares all citizens, regardless of ability, deserve to live in dignity, safety and equality under the law, ABC News reported.

While prominent Republicans such as John McCain (R-Ariz.), former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) urged GOP lawmakers to vote for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, the treaty did not obtain the two-thirds majority it needed to be ratified, failing with a 61–38 vote, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The treaty has been ratified by 126 other countries, the LA Times reported.

According to ABC News, "The convention would not create any new rights that don’t already exist under US law and would not require changes to existing legislation."

However, several Republicans characterized the treaty as intruding on Americans’ rights.

“I and many of my constituents who home-school or send their children to religious schools have justifiable doubt that a foreign body based in Geneva, Switzerland, should be deciding what is best for a child at home in Utah,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said on the floor Tuesday, the LA Times reported.

“I don’t believe that we need to ratify an international convention to demonstrate our firm commitment in this area,” Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) said, according to ABC News. “Just as with many treaties before this one, the CRPD would offer cover to regimes that have no intention of actually helping their citizens, while needlessly tying the hands of countries like the United States that have actually made great strides in this area.”

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