Lee, Santorum oppose U.N. treaty on disabilities | The Salt Lake Tribune

Helpful or harmful?  Pro or con?  What is the value of the new U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?  This is exactly the kind of issue that U.S. conservatives challenge presently–although they approved it on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last July according to the Hill’s Global Affairs blog.

[Senator Mike] Lee — who is also backed by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. — took up the fight in a news conference following complaints by the Home School Legal Defense Association and conservatives that ratifying the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would allow the federal government to force parents with special needs children to enroll those kids in public schools.

The treaty’s defenders say it will would help protect the rights of American and other nations’ disabled citizens, who in some parts of the world face discrimination and mistreatment.

The treaty’s detractors say the language is overly broad, and the Republican platform adopted at the party’s national convention opposed it.

via Lee, Santorum oppose U.N. treaty on disabilities | The Salt Lake Tribune.

And Senators Lee and Santorum win the vote today.

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9 thoughts on “Lee, Santorum oppose U.N. treaty on disabilities | The Salt Lake Tribune

  1. michaelseancovey says:

    I think it’s absolutely wrong and unwise to give more power to the UN and federal governments in deciding how to educate disabled children than to let parents and families choose what is best. United States Senators should absolutely reject the treaty.

    Senator Kerry argues that it will help Americans when traveling abroad and also disabled members of the military. If so, that is good. We want to help and protect disabled people throughout the world. But is this treaty the right means to that? Perhaps not. Kerry also said there is no downside to ratifying this treaty. Is he sure? But what about what Senators Lee, Hatch, Santorum, and many others are saying?

    I tried to find places in the treaty that these conservative senators might be drawing from. I found this part, in Article 24, point 2, line a, “Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability…” (http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml)

    Does this mean that children with disabilities are forced into compulsory primary education? If so, I think this is a problem. Parents should choose, not the UN or the state.

    • I agree completely. According to the UN statistics, “Disability rates are significantly higher among groups with lower educational attainment in the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the OECD Secretariat. On average, 19 per cent of less educated people have disabilities, compared to 11 per cent among the better educated” (http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=18).
      I don’t doubt that these statistics are true, but they are being applied and addressed in the wrong ways.

      I personally, look at these stats and view their argument as backwards. I think that there are higher percentages of people with disabilities in these countries due to the lack of education and other factors.

      I agree with Michael Sean, Parents should choose, not the UN or the state.

  2. How could I not read an article with such an intriguing title?

    I admit that I don’t have time right now to read the full convention, but I look forward to reading it soon. This situation reminds me of the Arms Trade Treaty. Many US politicians argue that such a treaty would infringe on our right to bear arms, while others claim that it will have no effect. Is the language really so broad that both camps are right? If that is the case, would it be left up to member states to decide how they will carry it out?

    It seems this is the case with a lot of matters of international law. While it may seem useless to create such treaties, Kerry brings up a good point: the treaty “would extend protections and liberties to Americans when traveling abroad as well as to disabled members of the military.”

    The problem with collision of international and national law is relevant to a variety of current events, including the current conflict in Gaza; as this Slate article states: “The latest conflict in Gaza has raised numerous questions about international law. Did Israel violate it? Did Hamas? Does it matter?”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2012/11/is_israel_or_hamas_breaking_international_law_in_gaza.html

  3. If indeed the language in the new convention on the rights of persons with disabilities mandates that all parents send their disabled children to receive education, then I disagree with that approach. It is up to the parents and not the state to decide the best way to educate and care for their disabled children. However, if the language strongly encourages parents to send their disabled children to receive education so long as they are able, then I would agree with that.

    Santorum’s main concern is that the language of the convention gives too much power to the United Nations, and I agree with his opions on the values of U.S. sovereignty in this matter.
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55349900-90/treaty-disabilities-convention-rights.html.csp

  4. katiaroque says:

    I lived in NYC for the past 6 years and know how hard it is to find a suitable school for my kids. A few years ago I heard about homeschooling and was surprised how the American government allows parents to teach their children at home. In Brazil that is against the law. The freedom to give your child, disable or not, the best education possible is a blessing and a trait of strong and great democracies, such as the U.S.. A law that curtails that right should not be accepted.
    It is hard enough to raise a healthy child, let alone one that need special attention and care. Parents that raise these children deserve support and not laws restricting their choices. The website bellow gives great guidelines for lawmakers dealing with this issue.

    http://nichcy.org/schoolage/parental-rights

  5. The problem seems to be fairly negligible when considering the resevations listed in the resolution of raticfication created by the senate. This makes it clear, mostly at the insistance of the opposing republican senators, that U.S. sovereignty will not be subjugated to U.N. demands involuntarily. This opposition is in order, because the U.N. must respect national sovereignty. The reservations are being legislated, and therefore there should be little to no problem with the loss of parents jurisdiction over their children’s education.

    http://www.rpc.senate.gov/legislative-notices/legislative-notice-treaty-doc-112-7-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-

  6. zoyakrup says:

    It SHOULD be the right of the parent to say where and how their own child receives an education. I do not understand why someone would want everything handed to them. It is such a better reward to earn what you get, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. We should be able to decide things such as where our child go to school without the intervention of the government. I think that helping those with disabilities and helping assimilate them into society is a good one, but people are not aware of all the disabilities nor are they “sensible” towards them. Assumptions and negative feeling are sometimes felt towards persons with disabilities.
    http://thedailynewsonline.com/news/article_e7906380-3dc8-11e2-8107-0019bb2963f4.html

  7. This treaty is based primarily on preexisting United States laws. American standards are actually slightly higher than those in the treaty. This means that ratification requires little to no change on the part of our domestic law. The United States is usually a driving force when it comes to spurring international action. With US ratification will come credibility, the kind of credibility the treaty need in order to have its influence spread to other nations around the world. Some would say that scrutiny decreases sovereignty, to me it seems much more like an opportunity to be accountable and to show other nations that human rights can be promoted to those in our society who need our help the most.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-disability-1204-jm-20121204,0,4272312.story

  8. marianorfila says:

    The Senate voted 61-38 on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but 66 votes were needed for ratification. “Each person has the inherent right to life and should have the opportunity to pursue happiness, participate in society, and be treated equally before the law,” Moran said about the treaty in May. “The CRPD advances these fundamental values by standing up for the rights of those with disabilities, including our nation’s veterans and service members, and respecting the dignity of all.”
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/04/senate_gop_rejects_un_disabilities_treaty
    Mike Lee admitted that the treaty does not directly alter U.S. law, but said it could have unintended consequences in the future.

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