U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement Tuesday expressing strong disappointment in the Senate's failure to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The treaty, which required two-thirds of the Senate to vote for in order to be ratified by the United States, failed by a vote of 61-38.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement to promote, protect and ensure the full human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons with disabilities. It sets broad goals of autonomy, equality, acceptance, and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
"Persons with disabilities deserve basic human rights and freedoms no matter where they live. I am deeply disappointed that the Senate failed to extend American global leadership by encouraging other countries to follow our lead and offer full rights and protections to persons with disabilities around the world.
"Ratifying this treaty would not require the United States to do anything except comply with our own existing law. It would have no impact on our budget, but it would create new opportunities for American businesses, protect the rights of parents to homeschool their children if they choose to do so and promote access, mobility, and inclusion for disabled Americans living abroad, especially our wounded veterans.
"There is bipartisan support for this treaty, which was negotiated under the Bush Administration and approved by the Foreign Relations Committee, including from former Senator Bob Dole, himself a disabled veteran, and current Senators McCain, Barrasso and Moran. I have been proud to work alongside them, along with our colleagues Senators Durbin, Harkin and Udall, in advocating for ratification of this treaty since March. We fought for every last vote on the Senate floor today because ratifying this treaty would have been a step forward for human rights, freedom and the dignity of persons with disabilities around the world. Our fight is not over, and we plan to continue to work toward ratification in the future."