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The United Nations Treaty On Disability for People Around the World

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National Federation of the Blind
National Federation of the Blind

The United Nations Treaty On Disability for People Around the World


The United Nations Treaty On Disability for People Around the World
This morning I participated in a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and
senior members of his staff. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the
importance of the United Nations treaty on disability for people around the
world. The treaty is known as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (CRPD).

Last December, President Obama sent the CRPD to the United States Senate for
ratification. Ratifying a treaty requires a two-thirds majority vote,
meaning that it takes 67 Senators voting in favor of a treaty for it to be
ratified. Unfortunately, we fell short of the 67 votes needed to adopt the

As you may have heard, the Senate is considering voting once again on the
CRPD. Vice President Biden believes that we have a good chance of getting
the two-thirds majority needed for ratification this year. Many of the
members of the Senate who did not support the treaty last year said that
they did not believe that it was appropriate to vote on a treaty during a
lame duck session, which is the period following an election before new
members of the Senate officially take office. This year’s vote would not be
during a lame duck session, so we hope a number of Senators will support the
new effort to ratify the CRPD.

I am writing to ask for your help. Below is a list of the members of the
U.S. Senate who have indicated that they are undecided on how they will vote
on the disability treaty during this session.  If there are any Senators on
the list who are from your state, please take the time to write them and
encourage them to support the CRPD disability rights treaty.

It is vital that you tell your personal story and include why the treaty
will benefit you individually. While it is true that the CRPD will not
require any change to existing federal law, the treaty will have an impact
on blind people and others with disabilities from the U.S. who wish to study
or work abroad, or for that matter, wish to travel or live abroad. This is
where your personal story is important. Let your Senator or Senators know
that the disability rights treaty matters to you and explain why. Then, get
other blind people or other people with disabilities to write their Senators
as well. The members of the Senate who are weighing the value of the
disability treaty need to know that the treaty is important to blind people
and to all people with disabilities.

Please do what you can, and please send a copy of any letters you write to
Mr. Jesse Hartle at so we will have a record of the number
of letters that have been sent in.

Thank you for your help. This is why we have been so successful in the past;
it is all of us working together and combining our individual efforts to
change what it means to be blind.

Sincerely yours,

Fredric K. Schroeder
First Vice President

Undecided Senator List

Senator Alexander, Tennessee
Senator Blunt, Missouri
Senator Boozman, Arkansas
Senator Chambliss, Georgia
Senator Coats, Indiana
Senator Coburn, Oklahoma
Senator Cochran, Mississippi
Senator Corker, Tennessee
Senator Fischer, Nebraska
Senator Flake, Arizona
Senator Isakson, Georgia
Senator Johanns, Nebraska
Senator Johnson, Wisconsin
Senator Portman, Ohio

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