After being defeated in 2012, Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee quietly announced that they would be holding yet another vote on ratification for the widely criticized United Nations “Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.” The radical planetary agreement, known as UN CRPD for short, purports to grant oversight of U.S. policies on disabled Americans to an unelected global “committee” of self-styled “experts.” While the latest bid to ratify the scheme has flown largely under the media radar so far, the opposition is once again gearing up for a fight to stop it.
Opponents across the political spectrum have been warning for years that the treaty represents a major attack on U.S. national sovereignty, parental rights, self-government, and more. All of it is being done under the supposed guise of protecting people with disabilities in the United States, who already have among the most robust protections on the planet. Claims that U.S. ratification would “encourage” other governments to protect the disabled are largely dismissed as baseless propaganda. Another concern among critics is that there is no definition of “disability” in the scheme, potentially allowing UN bureaucrats and dictatorial member regimes to run wild.
The plot to internationalize disabilities law at the UN level was first approved by the dictator-dominated global outfit’s General Assembly in 2006. President Obama, having apparently never met a UN power grab he did not support, signed on to the CRPD regime in 2009 and sent it to the Senate for ratification in late 2012. Due primarily to a grassroots uprising among pro-life activists, home educators, disabilities advocates, and more, a coalition of GOP senators was able to block the agreement, which requires a two-thirds majority for ratification. However, after the scheme was defeated by a six-vote margin, extreme pro-UN Democrats vowed that the fight was not over yet.
Since that failure, there have been several quiet efforts to revive the UN scheme, which critics blast as a “dangerous” and “unnecessary” treaty threatening the United States. It did not come to a vote again, however, until now. In a quiet announcement posted on its website, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, currently chaired by embattled Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), said the body would take up the treaty again on Tuesday, July 22, at 10:00 a.m. The upcoming committee vote has received virtually no press coverage — likely for a good reason.
Last time the scheme was considered by the Senate, a tsunami of opposition rose up and flooded the Senate with phone calls and e-mails demanding that the UN plot be rejected. This time, with the sneak attack proceeding under the public’s proverbial nose, the grassroots army that killed the UN CRPD has not yet risen up in full force. Still, some elements of the opposition are already gearing up to do battle once again.
“Now is the time to let the Senate hear loud and clear that Americans are firmly opposed to surrendering our sovereignty, parental rights, and the rights of people with disabilities to unelected, unaccountable UN bureaucrats,” said attorney Michael Farris, president of ParentalRights.org, in a recent e-mail asking supporters to contact their senators. “We need every single parent and concerned citizen to make their voice heard.”
One of the main problems with the scheme for parental-rights advocates is that the CRPD could allow government officials to usurp decision-making authority from parents of disabled children. Like the even more radical UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the disabilities treaty uses a particularly controversial phrase that critics say is an open invitation for abuse. “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration,” the agreement states.
Of course, by “best interests of the child,” the UN and its member regimes are referring to the “best interests” as defined by bureaucrats — not parents. And it is hardly a hypothetical fear: In other countries, the worst nightmares of critics have already been confirmed in horrifying detail. In Scotland, for example, openly seizing on the language in the UN CRC about “best interests” of children, Parliament passed a law this year mandating an individual social worker to oversee every single Scottish child throughout his or her childhood and adolescence.
Because “disabilities” are not specifically defined in the treaty, meanwhile, critics also warn that the CRPD represents an open invitation for bureaucratic abuse. According to the agreement, “disability is an evolving concept.” If it is “evolving,” that means literally anyone could someday find their parental rights under attack from the UN “committee of experts” charged with overseeing the treaty’s implementation and enforcement. It also means busy-body global bureaucrats could radically expand the non-definition at any time, granting themselves vast new powers over whole classes of humanity.
Another major concern of critics is pro-abortion machinations found in the UN agreement. “With the disabilities treaty, already in the short time of its existence, the committee that oversees its implementation has pressured two countries regarding abortion: Spain and Hungary,” Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) Vice President Wendy Wright told CNSNews.com, adding that there was also no good reason to ratify it. “The issue of abortion is something that should be dealt with by countries — not by some unelected, unaccountable body at the UN.”
Even many activists for the disabled are up in arms about the latest Senate move. “As the mother of a child with disabilities, you'd think I'd be happy about government action to help people with disabilities. Think again,” wrote columnist and advocate for the disabled Helen Middlebrooke in Pacific Daily News on July 19. “I am angry, and a bit scared, over the Senate's reported reconsideration of the U.N. Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
Under the CRPD, Middlebrooke continued, “The state would have final say over my daughter, Deborah, and could keep me from homeschooling her and from becoming her legal guardian.” The treaty represents a “power grab of the United Nations, an unelected body that thinks it can tell sovereign nations and free people how to treat each other,” she added. “Under the CRPD, Deborah will belong to the state. Over my dead body!”
Also particularly troubling to critics is the assault on U.S. sovereignty and self-government from the UN and its oftentimes brutal member regimes represented by the agreement. Indeed, the UN CRPD, like other global treaties, is simply another power grab by planetary bureaucrats hoping to gradually increase their control over domestic law and policy in as many fields and nations as possible, critics say. It is also part of a long-term trend that is accelerating quickly.
“As can be seen in the UN’s official documents and in the conduct of the UN since 1945, the world body is constantly accumulating power,” explained President John F. McManus with The John Birch Society, a constitutionalist organization with grassroots activists across America that has firmly opposed the UN and its scheming for over five decades. “It has already gained much and CRPD is another step toward total power.”
Sen. Menendez, who is currently embroiled in a massive corruption scandal but still chairs the Foreign Relations Committee set to consider the scheme this week, announced his plans after the recent Supreme Court ruling United States v. Bond. In that case, the high court ruled that prosecutors could not use a UN treaty on Weapons of Mass Destruction to prosecute a woman accused of using toxic chemicals in an attack on another woman. Menendez and other pro-UN Democrats are claiming that ruling ensures that the disabilities treaty cannot be abused to usurp new powers.
“Ratification of the Disabilities Convention requires no change to, and places no obligation upon U.S. law, but would instead break down undue barriers for disabled Americans who study and travel abroad, expand markets for American businesses that sell accessible products, and showcase American leadership on disability rights,” claimed Menendez in a statement issued last month. “Today’s decision in the Bond case removes any fears that the Convention could ever be used to expand federal authority beyond the limits of the Constitution, undermine state sovereignty, or allow lawsuits to be filed in U.S. courts.”
However, legal experts pointed out that concurring opinions issued in the case by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito prove that the opposite of what Menendez claims is actually true. For now, despite past Supreme Court rulings stating that the federal government could not expand its powers beyond constitutional limits simply by adopting a “treaty,” the issue remains in dispute — especially among rabid supporters of UN power and Big Government who believe Washington, D.C., should be able to usurp any authority merely by signing agreements with other governments or institutions.
Activists say the latest UN scheme is likely to get through the Democrat-controlled Senate committee. However, getting the UN power grab ratified in the full Senate is expected to be a much tougher battle — particularly because it is an election year where conservatives are predicted to turn out in force. Opponents are urging Americans to contact their senators now to demand that the UN CRPD and other international power grabs be buried once and for all.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at
Senate GOP Kills Controversial UN Disability Treaty