U.S. Will Not Sign U.N. Disability Rights Treaty
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 18, 2003
UNITED NATIONS--The United States will not sign an international treaty protecting people with disabilities from discrimination, a United Nations committee was told Wednesday.
Ralph Boyd, U.S. assistant attorney general for civil rights, told the committee which is drafting a treaty on world-wide disability rights, that the United States would support the panel in its work, but would not sign the final document. Boyd said the Bush administration believes such rights should be covered by national measures and pointed to U.S. laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Thus we hope to participate in order to share our experiences and to offer technical assistance, if desired, on key principles and elements, but -- given our comprehensive domestic laws protecting those with disabilities -- not with the expectation that we will become party to any resulting legal instrument," Boyd said.
Some disability rights activists said they were disappointed.
"The United States does have rather extensive disability laws, so its offer to help was welcome, and it was nice it decided not to be an obstructionist or a spoiler," Jerry White, of the Landmine Survivors Network, told Reuters.
"But it is too bad it passed up an opportunity to lead a multilateral initiative in a healing way," he said.
United Nations Persons With Disabilities Website