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Americans With Disabilities Applaud President Obama's Intention to Sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire/ --

The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD), representing a broad constituency of Americans with disabilities and disability organizations, praises Monday's announcement of President Barack Obama's intention to sign the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Friday, July 24, 2009 at the White House.

"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."

The President's signature indicates the country's interest in joining this treaty and begins a process in which the Senate will review and provide advice and consent for ratification.

"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."

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."

"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.

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.

The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is a federation of US-based non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and individuals committed to international disability concerns.

"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."

SOURCE United States International Council on Disabilities
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