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Civil Rights = Disability Rights = Human Rights

Judith Heumann is an internationally known disability rights activist. She currently serves as the State Department’s Special Advisor for International Disability Rights.


Check out her recent op-ed for The Hill on the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Disabilities Treaty (CRPD):

Today, people with disabilities in the United States have made great advancements made possible by the Civil Rights Movement.  Discrimination against people with disabilities is broadly outlawed in education, employment, housing, transportation, etc.  People with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities from around the world have watched as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was implemented in the 1970s and as the Individuals with Disabilities Act became law and then as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990.  In fact, with the passage of the ADA, the United States became the first country in the world to adopt national civil rights legislation banning discrimination against people with disabilities in the public and private sector.  People from around the world who travelled here saw the changes our country was making and were amazed.  We had become the gold standard, and other countries aspired to be just like us.

In the years after enactment of the ADA, people with disabilities and governments around the world began meeting and discussing an international treaty that would require other countries to protect the rights of disabled people, much as we do in the United States.  In 2006, these discussions culminated in the Disabilities Treaty, which is based on the principles of non-discrimination and inclusiveness that underlie our own ADA.  Today, 147 parties have ratified the Disabilities Treaty.  Surprisingly, we in America have failed to do so.

For the full post:

Photo of 8 people with the Capitol building in the background in Washington, DC. Three people are using wheelchair users. Two people are holding signs that read: "Nothing about us without us" and "Vote Yes for CRPD."


Follow Judith Heumman on Twitter: @IntDisability


For more on the Disabilities Treaty:

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