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Press Release: NETWORK Issues Statement on Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities

FOR RELEASE: June 13, 2014

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,

Washington DC: NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, strongly supports ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and urges the United States Senate to vote in favor of ratification as quickly as possible. This treaty, which is modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act, affirms the human rights of people with disabilities throughout the world.

Our support is based on the principles of our Catholic faith, which call us to respect the inherent dignity of every human being, to promote the full inclusion of everyone in society and to recognize everyone’s right to have lives of meaning, freedom and independence. Pope Francis reminds us in his Joy of Gospel that we are called to embrace and protect the vulnerable in all areas of our culture. Without the safeguards guaranteed in this treaty, vulnerable people may be prevented from enjoying the rights that many of us take for granted. This is why NETWORK has taken such a strong stand on the issue.

Over 147 nations have already signed and ratified this treaty, and it was signed by President Obama on July 24, 2009. Since then, the U.S. Senate has failed in ratification efforts because of stated concerns about preserving states’ rights. Now that the Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed in Bond v. United States that ratification of such a treaty does not undermine those rights, the Senate should move quickly to ratify the treaty by July 26, 2014, the twenty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The more than one billion people worldwide with disabilities deserve the assurance that this