USNUSP Press Release: CRPD Signature
Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Support President Obama’s Intention to Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Signature is only the beginning; grassroots engagement is essential to meaningful ratification
Washington, DC | July 24, 2009 | The U.S. Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (USNUSP), a newly-formed grassroots human rights education and advocacy network, acknowledges the significant step taken by President Obama in announcing his intent to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today at the White House. In doing so, he moves the U.S. closer to joining the international community in committing to uphold the human rights of people with disabilities.
Drafted and negotiated under the leadership of people with disabilities themselves, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) represents a paradigm shift away from a medical model that views people with disabilities as objects of charity and treatment, to a social model based on the principles of self-determination and self-representation. The treaty addresses core issues of significance to people with disabilities, such as forced treatment and forced detention; access to voluntary, community-based services and support; non-discrimination; freedom from torture and other forms of cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment; social inclusion; and economic empowerment.
“Signing means nothing when we do not have access to basic rights, such as the right to live in the community,” said Anita Cameron, activist with ADAPT, a national grassroots community of disability rights activists. “We need to end the institutional bias against people with disabilities once and for all.”
“The CRPD unites all people with disabilities and allies behind a common goal: the struggle for our human rights and freedom. Signature is a positive step, and we will keep the pressure on Washington until the treaty is ratified, without reservations,” said Daniel Hazen, Co-coordinator of USNUSP.
“We should be organizing and raising awareness of the importance of this convention so that it doesn’t stall with a courtesy signature on it,” said Aaron Bellve, USNUSP activist. “We need to fight hard now for ratification, then for compliance. Then later, we will look back and wonder why we should have been made to fight at all.”
UN regulations call for the actual signing to occur in New York; today the President will direct Ambassador Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, to execute the signature at a second ceremony on July 30 in at the UN Headquarters in New York.
About the U.S. Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry: The U.S. Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (USNUSP) seeks to facilitate connections among users and survivors of psychiatry and allies in the disability and human rights movement to engage in human rights education, advocacy, and community organizing.
For more information, contact: Leah Harris, Co-coordinator, USNUSP
Tel: (202) 236-7747