ADL, Jewish federations regret failure to ratify disabilities treaty

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two national Jewish groups expressed regret at the U.S. Senate’s failure to ratify a disability rights treaty.

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The Senate on Tuesday voted 61-38 in favor of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ; but it needed a two thirds vote, or 67 votes, for ratification.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a United Nations international human rights treaty designed “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.” Some 126 countries have ratified the treaty, and 154 countries have signed but not ratified the treaty, like the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League in a statement noted that the treaty had as its basis existing American law,  the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990.  

“The adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) set an important standard against discrimination that is too rare in countries around the globe where people with disabilities are marginalized and denied basic protections,” ADL said in a statement. “This treaty simply aims to take our own model standard to countries around the world to empower and protect people where they live. We are profoundly disappointed that 38 Senators did not see fit to affirm America’s commitment to be a global leader promoting the promise of equality and human dignity for all.”

Also expressing regret was the Jewish Federations of North America.

“Despite this move by the U.S. Senate  today, Jewish Federations will continue to stay committed to ensuring individuals with disabilities are able to live healthy, independent lives,” said William Daroff, vice president of public policy and director of the JFNA’s Washington office. “We hope that the next Congress will take this up so we as a nation are able to ensure individuals with disabilities are supported on an international scale.”

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