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Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

May 17, 2012

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for advice and consent of the Senate to its ratification, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 13, 2006, and signed by the United States of America on June 30, 2009 (the "Convention"). I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State with respect to the Convention.

Anchored in the principles of equality of opportunity, nondiscrimination, respect for dignity and individual autonomy, and inclusion of persons with disabilities, the Convention seeks to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. While Americans with disabilities already enjoy these rights at home, U.S. citizens and other individuals with disabilities frequently face barriers when they travel, work, serve, study, and reside in other countries. The rights of Americans with disabilities should not end at our Nation's shores. Ratification of the Disabilities Convention by the United States would position the United States to occupy the global leadership role to which our domestic record already attests. We would thus seek to use the Convention as a tool through which to enhance the rights of Americans with disabilities, including our veterans. Becoming a State Party to the Convention and mobilizing greater international compliance could also level the playing field for American businesses, who already must comply with U.S. disability laws, as well as those whose products and services might find new markets in countries whose disability standards move closer to those of the United States.

Protection of the rights of persons with disabilities has historically been grounded in bipartisan support in the United States, and the principles anchoring the Convention find clear expression in our own domestic law. As described more fully in the accompanying report, the strong guarantees of nondiscrimination and equality of access and opportunity for persons with disabilities in existing U.S. law are consistent with and sufficient to implement the requirements of the Convention as it would be ratified by the United States.

I recommend that the Senate give prompt and favorable consideration to this Convention and give its advice and consent to its ratification, subject to the reservations, understandings, and declaration set forth in the accompanying report.

Barack Obama

The White House,

May 17, 2012.

Barack Obama, Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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