The U.S. Senate rejects the UN Convention on Disability Rights

“We have not affirmed our “sovereignty” by rejecting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have, in fact, lost yet another opportunity to affirm our basic humanity.”

Janet C. Phelan
Activist Post

The U.S. Senate yesterday rejected the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although a majority voted in favor of ratification of this treaty, the vote fell short of the two thirds necessary.

The vote — 61 to 38 — divided closely on party lines, with Republicans calling the vote a victory for national sovereignty and parental rights.

Many Dems, including John Kerry, disagreed, however.

“It really isn’t controversial,” Kerry said. “What this treaty says is very simple. It just says that you can’t discriminate against the disabled. It says that other countries have to do what we did 22 years ago when we set the example for the world and passed the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

While many were calling this a defeat for the internationalists and the NWO, I must question if this may be a knee-jerk response to a more complex situation.

The fact is that the U.S. has launched a covert war against its elderly and disabled. The battlefield is convening every weekday in guardianship courts across the country, where demographic targeting of some of our most vulnerable citizens is happening on a regular basis.

Guardianships are generally initiated through court proceedings when there are allegations that an individual lacks competency. Upon the initiation of a guardianship (some states call these conservatorships) a person loses most of his rights and all access to his property and resources, and may therefore not even be able to hire an attorney to defend against the guardianship. Guardianships are often launched on little more than allegations and often no medical capacity declaration is even filed.

The treaty which the Senate rejected yesterday is, in fact, modeled upon the Americans with Disabilities Act. What the treaty provides (which the U.S. law does not) is a mechanism to draw international attention to violations of the Act. By rejecting the treaty, the Senate has de facto mitigated the venues to petition for redress for those suffering the grave revocation of rights which is taking place every single day now in guardianship court.

Back in 2010, the United States submitted, for the first time, to international scrutiny of its human rights record. A number of organizations submitted papers critical of the U.S.’s dispensation of the rights of those with disabilities and the summary report stated concern that the disabled were not experiencing fully vested rights in America.

In response to these criticisms, the United States promised that we would ratify this treaty. While those fearful of surrendering our sovereignty to international oversight are toasting the results of the vote, I can not find anything to celebrate here. Having participated in one UN Convention and submitted a paper to a second, I am hardly naive about either the process or some of the impetus behind international convenings. My experiences have left me with the strong impression that there is a lot of posturing and often not enough substance in the big rooms in Geneva. I am also aware that voices of dissent are often smothered.

However, as a journalist who maintains a focus on elder and disability issues, I find the vote redolent of what is the worst about America today. We have become a country that honors the almighty buck; and those who are not engaged in the daily grind of the market state are being terribly hurt, not only through the specter of guardianship but also by the economic hardships imposed by those who only worship the dollar sign.`

We have not affirmed our “sovereignty” by rejecting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have, in fact, lost yet another opportunity to affirm our basic humanity and to show the world that America is not an imperial (and imperious) brute, lacking regard for its vulnerable elders and those afflicted with a disability.

The message we have sent out by this vote is clear:

We will not honor the rights of these people. We do not honor our own legislation through the ADA and we are not going to grant the international community a mechanism to do a damn thing about it.

Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The Long Beach Press Telegram, Oui Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet specializes in issues pertaining to legal corruption and addresses the heated subject of adult conservatorship, revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants. She also covers issues relating to international bioweapons treaties. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides abroad.  You may browse through her articles (and poetry) at

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