International Disability Rights Monitor Praises President Obama for Commitment to the Rights of People with Disabilities Worldwide

President Announces Intent to Sign United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM), a project committed to promoting the full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities worldwide in all aspects of life, today lauded President Barack Obama for announcing his intention to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). President Obama made his historic announcement two days before the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the landmark U.S. legislation prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities that has afforded millions of Americans opportunities to participate as full members of their communities.

“Members of the IDRM team were intimately involved in the negotiations that led to the UN Convention”

“Members of the IDRM team were intimately involved in the negotiations that led to the UN Convention,” said Mary Keogh, International Coordinator for the IDRM. “The United States did not participate in those negotiations, but has a great deal to contribute to this effort. We welcome U.S. engagement and salute President Obama for taking this important step.”

Dr. William Kennedy Smith, M.D., founder of the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR), the international nonprofit organization that launched the IDRM, said, “This was the most rapidly-negotiated treaty, with the most first-day signatories, in United Nations history. By joining this treaty, the United States is embracing an important effort by the international community and regaining leadership in an arena where the United States has traditionally set the benchmark. President Obama deserves all the credit in the world for his initiative on this issue.”

The United States will join more than 100 countries that have signed the CRPD since it was adopted by the United Nations in December 2006. The goal of the CRPD is to remove barriers and improve the standard of living and employment opportunities for approximately 650 million people with disabilities worldwide.

These objectives align directly with IDRM’s mission to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and enforced through the use of international humanitarian law. The CIR, which is dedicated to helping those with disabilities achieve their full potential, has worked with other international disability organizations to develop the IDRM into a grassroots project that relies on researchers from around the world to document and assess the status of people living with disabilities and the ongoing human rights violations that often are part of their daily lives.

To date, IDRM, which was founded in 2001, has produced six reports including the International Disability Rights Compendium (2003); Regional Report of the Americas (2004); International Disability Rights: An Overview and Comparative Analysis of International and National Initiatives to Promote and Protect the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2005); Regional Report of Asia (2005); Disability and Early Tsunami Relief Efforts in India, Indonesia and Thailand (2005); and the Regional Report of Europe (2007). Not only do these reports provide information that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, the 2004 and 2005 reports contributed significantly to the passage of the CRPD.

“While the United States has come a long way since passing the ADA in 1990, there is still a great deal of work to be done to break down barriers so that every person with a disability can fully participate in society,” said Dr. Smith. “For years, the United States has been a leader in protecting the rights of people with disabilities. By signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty, our country can better advance this cause not only in our backyard, but around the world.”

For more information on IDRM, please visit

About The Center for International Rehabilitation

The Center for International Rehabilitation, based in Washington DC, is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that seeks to improve the lives of people with disabilities in some of the poorest countries by providing rehabilitation and training programs and mobility aides, and advocating the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. The CIR operates in collaboration with the renowned Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University. For more information on the programs of the CIR, please visit our website at


Center for International Rehabilitation
Krishna Dave, 202-625-4777

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