AUCD Celebrates the 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Urges Passage of Disability Treaty

July 26, 2012

Today, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) joins many other disability organizations in celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and urges the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The ADA signifies the adoption of a public policy committed to the removal of a broad range of impediments to the integration of people with disabilities into society. The ADA Anniversary is a time when we can reflect positively on a law that has made a great impact on the lives of people with disabilities and our country over the past 22 years. The message within the law's preamble and history is powerful because it clearly states the congressional intent "to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities."

The ADA was the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. It was a collaborative effort of Democrats, Republicans, the legislative and the executive branches, federal and state agencies, and people with and without disabilities. When President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, he said that "every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom."

The ADA Anniversary is also the perfect time for the Congress to take the next step by providing leadership in disability equality internationally by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is considering the CRPD. Already, 116 countries have ratified the CRPD. The United States signed the Convention on July 30, 2009.

AUCD's Executive Director, George Jesien, PhD, said, "It is important that the United States join the community of countries working to truly integrate people with disabilities into communities, schools, and workplaces. We are encouraged that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking the next big step toward advancing disability rights by considering the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."

The CRPD is a United Nations treaty that would ensure that the rights guaranteed to every American through the ADA are available when they live, work or travel abroad. It would provide the United States a unique opportunity to provide guidance and expertise to other countries who are adopting disability rights laws and level the playing field for US corporations by requiring businesses abroad to create policies on accessibility that meet ADA standards. The CRPD will require no changes to federal or state law, and it will have no impact on the federal budget. The CRPD simply adopts the nondiscrimination model for persons with disabilities already found in the ADA and other US disability laws.

"AUCD is hopeful that Republicans and Democrats, Congress and the Administration, and American citizens will come together to ratify the CRPD just as they did to pass the ADA," said AUCD President Anthony Antosh, EdD. "It is time for the United States to help lead the way to advance disability rights internationally."


The Association of University Centers on Disabilities, located in Silver Spring, MD, is a national, non-profit organization that promotes and supports the national network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practices through research, education and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. AUCD also exchanges information and technical assistance with international affiliates and universities in several countries, including Australia, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia and is a member of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities.


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