President Obama Signs UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Releases Statement on 19th Anniversary of the ADA

July 24, 2009


pdf File White House Statement on ADA Anniversary and Signing of the Convention (83KB) [download]

pdf File CCD Press Release on Convention (83KB) [download]

pdf File CCD Letter on Convention (86KB) [download]

pdf File USICD Press Release on Convention [download]

In advance of the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 2009, President Obama signed the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The President's signature initiates a process by which the Senate reviews, provides advice, and hopefully consents to ratification. The US International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) issued recent press releases describing the Convention and applauding his decision to have the United States sign on: view the full releases as well as a White House press release at right. 

"President Obama committed to sign the Convention during his campaign and we applaud his leadership. This treaty is good for America, good for people with disabilities, and good for the world," says Marca Bristo, President of USICD. "By signing this treaty the US is reaffirming its commitment to basic human rights of all people with disabilities and positioning us to better contribute our expertise on the global level."

"It is fitting for President Obama to sign the CRPD this week, in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," says former Representative Tony Coehlo, co-author of the ADA, and USICD board member. "When we passed the ADA, we did not imagine the impact it would have around the world by inspiring an international treaty."

"This treaty reflects the unique insights of disabled people from around the world. The participation of disabled people in decision-making about policies affecting our lives is changing the way we are regarded in our communities and by our governments," says Judy Heumann, former Clinton Administration appointee, board member of USICD, and participant in the negotiations to draft the treaty.

"This is a historic day in the movement for full equality, access, and inclusion of people with disabilities in America," says David Morrissey, Executive Director of USICD. "A broad coalition of Americans with and without disabilities have called for our country to sign this treaty."

UN Enable
About the Convention

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted December 13, 2006 and opened for signature March 30, 2007.  It was the first human rights convention of the 21st century and the fastest to accumulate signatures -- ever. The drafting process was notable for the inclusion of people with disabilities on official delegations and as participants in advocacy groups with a rallying slogan of "Nothing about us, without us."

Read the full Convention here.

The United Nations estimates that there are 650 million people with disabilities globally. The CRPD addresses barriers that impede the full participation of people with disabilities in their communities on all aspects of daily life. The treaty enhances opportunities for community access, employment and entrepreneurship, international exchange, and the attainment of an adequate standard of living for all individuals, children and families affected by disability.

More Information

Inclusion International is the UN-recognized Disabled People's Organization that relates to people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Here is what they say about the Convention: Read what they say about the Convention.

UN Enable is the UN organization involved.  Access their website here.