The Good Old Days

I am not astonished to see that the United States hasn’t signed the United Nations International Charter on Disability Rights, but I am of course disappointed. I will be traveling to Kenya in June and it will be interesting to be in a nation that signed the protocol and have the opportunity to explain why the United States chose not to. I look back fondly to the days when America stood for human rights around the globe. As our current President would say: "Ah, those were the good old days…"


United Nations




UNITED NATIONS, 29 March – Some
50 countries have indicated that they will sign the new Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at a solemn ceremony to be held
at the UN General Assembly hall on Friday, 30 March.

ceremony, taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., will be webcast at Speakers include Deputy-Secretary-General
Asha-Rose Migiro, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and
Gideon Mandesi, spokesperson for civil society (see draft programme at

following 53 countries have so far announced they will sign the
Convention when it opens for signature by States and regional
integration organizations: Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia,
Austria, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Republic of Congo, Costa
Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Germany,
Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy,
Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Nicaragua,
Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San
Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri
Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United
Republic of Tanzania and Yemen, as well as the European Community. Many
countries will sign at the level of Minister.

30 countries will also sign the Optional Protocol on Communications,
which will allow individual petitioning on alleged rights violations to
a committee of experts once all national recourse procedures had been

The Convention will enter into force when ratified by 20 countries.

A press conference at 12:45, to be webcast at,
will feature Mrs. Arbour, Mexico’s Under-Secretary for Multilateral
Affairs and Human Rights Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, New Zealand’
Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson, Ecuador Vice-President Lenin
Moreno and civil society spokesperson Yannis Vardakastanis. A
discussion on implementing the Convention, starting at 3:00 p.m., will
feature delegates and panellists covering both political and technical

A discussion on implementing the
Convention, starting at 3:00 p.m., will feature delegates and
panellists covering both political and technical issues.

of more than 350 international disability organizations, which were
instrumental in drafting the treaty, are expected to attend the

For information, please visit, or contact: Edoardo Bellando, Tel. (212) 963-8275, e-mail:, or Daniel Shepard, Tel. (212) 963-9495, e-mail: 

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Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “The Good Old Days”

  1. I share your concern about disability rights but whether the US signs a protocol or not has little impact. Just scanning the list and seeing bastions of human rights such as Algeria, Syria, Nigeria, Yemen, China (when they are not busy killing female infants and running over their citizens with tanks) is fascinating. Their own citizens don’t have rights and we expect them to treat those with disabilities properly?
    It I believed it would make one bit of difference how the disabled were treated in those countries I’d be all for it.
    The US, though far from perfect in this area, already is among the world leaders in that category through legislation, government and private programs. I’d say that says far more about us than putting our name on a unenforcable piece of paper.


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