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Life After Paralysis is a blog that represents a variety of paralysis community members. It is a place for open conversation about the issues and the interests of people living with paralysis, their family, friends, caregivers, and the professionals that serve them. Comments are welcome!
 
The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The Way Forward

The Seventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will be convening at the United Nations during June 10-12 of this year and I am super psyched to be attending. There are many reasons I’m impassioned to sit in on this assembly, but one that is a massive stand out is Christopher Reeve took part in the drafting of the CRPD making him a founding father of the most influential human rights document of the 21st Century and I have the honor to represent this Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation throughout the sessions.

My journey to this moment began this time last year when I was in New York attending UNICEF’s FIRST EVER report on the state of the worlds children with disabilities, this bears repeating, the FIRST EVER report on the state of the worlds children with disabilities, when I was awakened to the pressing need for my and well everyone’s involvement to speed up the advancement of the principles (Article 3) of CRPD of the rights of persons with disabilities in society and development by pressing the call for ratification of the CRPD by all countries.

While at the UNICEF gathering I discovered that the United States has not ratified the CRPD, I was shocked. How could a world leader of our stature and with our Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA) a human and civil inalienable rights act for people with disabilities not be on the list of nations that has ratified this treaty? I brought this newfound information back to Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. It was decided that research and fact-finding was needed to determine what action the Foundation could take in support of U.S. ratifying the CRPD. 

The Foundation understood that it’s mission could be weakened and support of the mission lessened if its constituents are considered objects without human rights rather then subjects to be fully included into the global society. I was authorized to gain accreditation for the CDRF to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Civil Society Networks so that the Foundation would be able to attend the CRPD meetings as part of Civil Society, an NGO. With this accreditation I was able to be present at the U.N. High Level meeting on disability held prior to the 68th General Assembly of the Heads of State and Government on September 23rd 2013.

The theme of this High Level meeting “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”, pointed to the more than 1 billion or 15% of the worlds population that are living with disabilities that lacked equal access to fundamental resources and development agendas, including the global Millennium Development Goals 2015 (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals (IADGs). At this meeting a action-oriented Outcome Document, sighting ten points pertaining to the inclusion of people into the post 2015 MDG’s framework was presented to the General Assembly to adopt the resolution, and they did. This was a historic moment for people all over the world.

After this High Level meeting, Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held two round table discussions on the CRPD. The Reeve Foundation was invited to these meetings and to contribute to the conversation with other organizations, for example, U. S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD). So many responses over and over again reflected the need for U.S. ratification of the CRPD and the words of Peter Wilderotter, President and C.E.O. of the Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation, "The most basic support we can provide to the disability community is the respect of their rights and protections covered by the CRPD treaty. Discrimination against disabilities is a universal issue and this treaty ensures inherent dignity, non-discrimination, accessibility, equal opportunity, and full inclusion in society for our community."

At the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation we wrote blogs, Action Alerts and opinion editorials about how our community could support the ratification efforts. The Senate held discussions and testimonies from both sides of the ratification issue, on Capital Hill, but ultimately no vote was scheduled. But there is another effort beginning to gain steam to call for a Senate vote to ratify the CRPD before the ADA’s 24th Anniversary on July 27th.

This is one reason why I am headed to the Seventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with the theme of this session as: Incorporating the CRPD provisions into the post-2015 development agenda; Youth with disabilities; and National implementation and monitoring. I want to listen and understand what other countries have done and are planning to do to create Universally Designed and Inclusive societies, globally.

I also want to bring back action ideas that can encourage the Reeve Foundation community and anyone else to continue to actively support the U.S. ratification efforts. Right now we, the United States of America, are “out-of-the-loop” and don’t have a seat at the CRPD table, because we haven’t ratified the treaty and that means we have NO say in how the world creates access for everyone to everything. So wish me a safe journey, I'll be back soon with news and things to do!!! 

Blessings to ALL! In Joy and Action, Candace

© 2014 Candace Cable | Like Candace on Facebook | Follow Candace on Twitter
Posted by Candace on May 31, 2014 11:55 PM US/Eastern

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