Secretary Kerry Delivers a Video Message on the Disabilities Treaty
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Secretary Kerry Delivers a Video Message on the Disabilities Treaty

November 29, 2019


SECRETARY KERRY: Hi, everyone. I wanted to
take a moment to talk to you about a treaty that will advance the rights of Americans
with disabilities when they leave our shores and travel overseas. It’s called the Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and its purpose lies squarely in the best
traditions of our great country. The Disabilities Treaty is an international
agreement that will help protect the rights of Americans with disabilities when they live,
work, travel, or study overseas–it is exactly like the Americans with Disabilities Act and
what it does here at home. In both cases, the measures are about ensuring
equality and dignity. But the Disabilities Treaty is about something more. It’s about
American leadership. It’s about the affirmation of who we are as a nation and what we stand
for in the eyes of the world. If you’re a disabled student with dreams of
going to school overseas, our joining the Disabilities Treaty will help open the world
to meet your aspirations for equality of opportunity and accessibility when you go overseas. If you’re a business person with expertise
in accessible technologies, our joining this Treaty will help create new markets for your
products as other countries rise to meet our standards and demand our products in order
to help their citizens. And if you’re a disabled veteran who risked
life and limb in service to our country, our joining this Treaty will help ensure that
you can work, you can study, you can travel abroad with dignity and respect and know that
hotels, restaurants, and businesses will be accessible to you. Don’t take my word for it. Talk to Dan Berschinski,
a retired U.S. Army captain, Afghanistan War veteran and a double amputee. I met Dan last
year and he told me that when he travels overseas, he has worries that he’d never have here in
the United States: Would his wheelchair fit through a hotel doorway? Would bathrooms be
accessible? Would buildings have ramps? The fact is that, in too many countries, what
we have come to be able to take for granted here in America hasn’t been granted at all
in those other countries. This Treaty doesn’t change America. It doesn’t affect America
except that we export America’s values of non-discrimination against all people living
with disabilities. Now, I know that there’s a certain amount
of misinformation out there about this Treaty. So let me just set the record straight right
now. The Disabilities Treaty does not contain one
single onerous mandate. There are no mandates. It simply says that other countries should
do what we did 23 years ago when we set the gold standard and passed the Americans with
Disabilities Act. Joining the Treaty won’t require one change
to an American law, and it won’t infringe on the rights of parents to decide what’s
best for their children. I want to be absolutely clear about that. Joining the Disabilities Treaty isn’t about
changing American behavior. It’s about getting the rest of the world to raise their disability
standards for the treatment of people with disabilities–and raise them to our level.
It’s that simple. In four simple words, the Treaty says to other
countries that don’t protect the rights of disabled people: Be more like us. To countries
that warehouse children with disabilities–we ask them to be more like us. To countries
that leave children to die because they have a disability in the first place–we ask them
to be more like us. Let those children live. To countries that force children with disabilities
to abandon education–we ask them to be more like us. Give those children an opportunity. I am proud to join with people all over the
country to advance this cause. We are in this together because we believe in the promise
of equality for Americans anywhere, and for people everywhere. It’s time for action on
the Disabilities Treaty.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Why would you support it. He says nothing and most of what he says has never made it in this country. Why would we want to have our laws controlled by treaties. He's lying when he says it's not an infringement.

  2. I mean, its great to write powerful and inflammatory comments on youtube…but, and I mean no offense, you're incorrect. It is a treaty, with the goal of creating a convention of experts chosen by members of the treaty, to monitor the rights of people with disabilities throughout the world. It doesn't legislate, and the point of ratifying it here in America would be so that we can contribute to the convention. So he's not lying. But thanks for trying to get me fired up

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