The USA Senate has failed to ratify this important global disability treaty, created in the United Nations with advice from hundreds of advocates, including a MindFreedom International team. Let your senator know how you feel about their votes!

by John Abbe, Independent Consultant

MindFreedom International


On December 4th, the United States Senate failed to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the USA, voting for it 61-38. (Ratification of treaties requires a two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate.) We here at MindFreedom International are deeply disappointed at this failure, along with everyone else in the passionate cross-disability movement, who have worked so hard to craft this convention at the international level and then get national governments to ratify it. Well over 100 other countries have ratified the treaty.

David Morrissey, Executive Director of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, had this to say: “We cannot rest in the campaign for U.S. ratification of the CRPD. Over 300 disability and veteran organizations have come together on this issue. These groups are daily raising awareness among our diverse stakeholders of the importance of U.S. joining the world on affirming disability rights and equality through the CRPD. The world community on Monday celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Global solidarity is at the heart of the International Day — and solidarity with the world’s disability community inspires this American movement. We will not rest. And we will succeed.”


Take Action — Let Our Senators Know How You Feel About Their Vote


Every Democrat and many Republicans — but not enough — voted for the treaty. The U.S. International Council on Disabilities has put together a list of Republican senators it is particularly important to thank for their support, as well as those from whom we expected support but who turned against the treaty in the end. Click here to see who they are and contact them and let them know how you feel.

Point your family, friends, co-workers, and other community members to that web page as well! Tweet about it with #CRPD and write Facebook messages about it – it makes a difference when our representatives know that we are paying attention!

Background and How to Stay Informed


MindFreedom International’s August radio show was on the convention and the cross-disability movement in general, and you can still listen to that episode here.

The US National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) put it this way: “The CRPD is a non-discrimination treaty seeking to achieve the same goals as the ADA and other existing disability laws in the United States: to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, inclusion, and integration into all aspects of society. The CRPD is important to all people with disabilities because it embodies equal treatment and non-discrimination in access to employment, educational, and housing opportunities.”

David Oaks, Executive Director of MindFreedom International, writing earlier about the treaty: “As well as being a psychiatric survivor director of MindFreedom International, I also serve on the board of the United States International Council on Disability (USICD), which has been a leading group in unifying the USA disability movement for passage of CRPD. I’ve found USICD leaders such as Eric Rosenthal, Marca Bristo and David Morrissey, and others, to be positive, passionate, and principled allies for the psychiatric survivor movement. Thank you all!”

USICD continues to publish updates on the convention. You can also see the United Nations website on CRPD.

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