December 04, 2012

Manchin Statement on U.N. Disabilities Treaty

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted today in favor of the Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a measure supported by both Republicans and Democrats. The United Nations resolution was defeated in the Senate in a 61-38 vote. The measure needed 66 votes to pass.

Prior to the vote, Senator Manchin stood alongside Senator Bob Dole at an event in Washington, D.C. to recognize America’s commitment to treating all people with dignity and respect, particularly those who are disabled and those who have served our great country.

“I am very disappointed that this treaty failed to pass in the Senate today. This treaty asks that the world community treat people with the same dignity and compassion that we treat people with here in the United States,” Senator Manchin said. “I proudly support this bipartisan treaty because it benefits disabled American veterans who want to travel or work abroad. The treaty merely functions as a model to the world on how we treat people at home and reaffirms our commitments to how others should treat Americans abroad. Most importantly, it takes away no rights and creates no new laws.

“To those parents and students who are concerned with any interference in homeschooling, I hear your concerns. Know this: No other country will have any influence on how we educate our children.”

The treaty has broad support from more than 300 organizations, including 21 veterans’ and military service organizations. 

Background: United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • The UNCRPD provides protection for persons with disabilities in a broad range of areas including equality and nondiscrimination, equal recognition before the law, and access to justice. 
  • The UNCRPD establishes a Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to periodically examine reports prepared by countries on the steps they have taken to implement the UNCRPD.  The Committee can issue only non-binding recommendations to countries and the recommendations have no enforcement power.
  • More than 300 organizations support this measure, including 21 veterans’ and military service organizations, because this treaty reaffirms our commitment to our fellow citizens with disabilities.
  • The Department of Justice, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Executive Branch, and numerous advocates have clarified that the UNCRPD will be applied consistently with current United States law and will not change existing state or federal law.