Yesterday the U.S. Senate began debating whether or not to ratify the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty, which would recognize fundamental human rights for persons living with disabilities on an international level. Currently 124 countries have ratified the treaty, and 154 have signed it including the United States.
The treaty requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate in order to be ratified. However, over 30 conservative senators have already pledged to block any international treaty up for debate during the lame duck session. Many conservatives fear that ratifying the treaty would present a challenge to U.S. sovereignty. In addition, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires that persons with disabilities have equal access to reproductive health care, which some argue will lead to more abortions.
Supporters of the treaty believe it would revolutionize disability rights across the globe. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has called the claim that the treaty will lead to more abortions "absolutely, positively, factually inaccurate," stating that the treaty only acknowledges what procedures are legal in that country. He also stated that he believed the Americans with Disabilities Act (which the treaty was modeled after) is the standard of disability rights, and the treaty would "take that gold standard and extend it to countries that have never heard of disability rights."
Media Resources: UN dispatch 11/28/12; CBS News 11/27/12; Washington Post 11/27/12; Huffington Post 11/26/12
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .