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Politics of Power Stall Disability Treaty in U.S. Senate

PHOTO: Disability advocate Dylan Brown wants a new Senate vote on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Photo courtesy Tennessee Disability Coalition.
PHOTO: Disability advocate Dylan Brown wants a new Senate vote on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Photo courtesy Tennessee Disability Coalition.
January 20, 2014

PHOENIX - An international human rights treaty that's been bottled up in Congress for more than a year now, has hundreds of organizations for veterans and people with disabilities across the country calling for a new vote in the U.S. Senate. According to disability advocate Dylan Brown, protections for people with disabilities that are similar to those in the U.S. should be in place across the globe.

"This is an important thing for us as a country to sign onto, so that our leadership is seen around the world and we can be used as an example of how people with disabilities, if given the right and ability to be a fuller member of society, then there's lots of things that people can do," Brown declared. "And I think around the world, that's certainly not the case right now, in a lot of places."

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities narrowly failed to pass in December of 2012. Arizona Senator John McCain voted for the treaty, saying it would simply require the rest of the world to meet the standards of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Treaty opponents claim it would infringe on U.S. sovereignty, but supporters say ratification would have no effect on the law in the U.S. That's also the take-away from Brown, who noted that there are still places abroad where people with disabilities suffer severe mistreatment and neglect.

"The treaty is not giving any authority to the U.N. that we're going to have to go by some law outside of our own," the disability advocate said. "It's just basically stating that we, as Americans, are behind the rights of individuals with disabilities all around the world."

The treaty has been signed by at least 153 other countries. In the U.S., it was negotiated and first signed under President George W. Bush and then signed again by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Treaty information is at 1.usa.gov/1fv2fpE.



Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ