Transcript: Sen. Daniel Inouye’s floor remarks in support of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of statements by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) in support of ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the Senate floor on Dec. 4, 2012:

Mr. President, today the United States Senate is considering a resolution to provide its advice and consent with respect to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD. At its heart, the Convention is a non-discrimination treaty, which requires that persons with disabilities have the same general rights as those without disabilities.

I am grateful for the opportunities this Nation provided me as a young man who returned from World War II as an amputee. Those opportunities included a college and law degree, eventually serving the Territory and State of Hawaii. I was fortunate my injury did not hinder my dream to work for, and serve the people of Hawaii.

Throughout my years in the Senate, I joined with my colleagues to advance non-discrimination initiatives that protect all Americans. In 1989, I was proud to join with my good friend Senator Harkin as an original cosponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, in the Senate, and vote for its passage in 1990. The ADA, established in law, our Nation’s dedication to ensure those born with disabilities, or those who suffer life changing disabilities, are individuals with dignity. Furthermore, that those individuals enjoy the same rights and opportunities all Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case around the world.

The ADA and its goals served as the model for the treaty resolution before us today. This Convention will help move countries toward protecting the rights of disabled individuals. Practically, it will allow the U.S. to engage other countries in the international arena to work toward the standards and accessibility here in the United States, which will benefit disabled Americans who work, live, and travel the world.

We are fortunate U.S. law meets or exceeds the obligations of the CRPD, and that no implementing legislation is required. Our country stands up to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our society. We cannot comprehend the mistreatment or simply the disregard of the lives of those with disabilities. Ratifying this treaty will reaffirm our country’s leadership and commitment to the basic human rights of disabled men, women, and children. I am pleased to join my colleagues in support of the ratification of the CRPD.

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