USA to sign human rights treaty on people with disabilities
No doubt President Obama will disappoint plenty of people in plenty of areas before his time as President finishes, but one area where he seems keen to make improvements is in the way the USA approaches human rights issues internationally.
Last Friday he “announced his intention to sign the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in what will be the U.S.’s first signing of an international human rights treaty in over a decade.”
The CPRD was only adopted by the UN in 2006, but until now, the USA had been the only NATO country not to sign the Treaty. Australia ratified it in July 2008.
Unlike Australia, ratification of Treaties in the USA have to be agreed to be the Senate, once the President has signed it. In Australia, Treaties are usually required to be reviewed by a Parliamentary Committee, but our government is still able to go ahead and ratify a Treaty, regardless of any views, recommendations or findings of that Committee.
(a) that the Government consider expanding the role of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner to enable the Commissioner to provide Parliament with an annual report on compliance and implementation of the Convention and, if also ratified, the Optional Protocol, and
(b) that a review be carried out of the relevant provisions of the Migration Act and the administrative implementation of migration policy, and that any necessary action be taken to ensure that there is no direct or indirect discrimination against persons with disabilities in contravention of the Convention.
The Migration Act does have provisions which directly affect people with a disability (when it is of a nature to be viewed as a significant health condition), as I’ve noted before. Whether it does so in a way which contravenes the Disabilities Convention is something which is open to debate, but it is still timely that such a review be done.
Those recommendations were tabled in October 2008. As far as I know, no such public review has yet been carried out or commenced.