UNICEF USA Steps Up to Show Support for Disabilities Convention

November 29, 2013

Mark Engman is Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

At the U.S. launch of UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report in May, Senator Tom Harkin spoke eloquently of his commitment to fight for U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). 

He urged UNICEF supporters to let the Senate know that Americans support the CRPD. Our President and CEO, Caryl Stern, promised him that we would do our part.

And we did! Thanks to a massive online mobilization campaign, CRPD advocates generated more than 67,000 names of Americans who want to ratify the CRPD. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF alone was responsible for more than 30,000 of those names! On November 21, 2013, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the CRPD, representatives from the disabilities community delivered a bound book containing those 67,000+ names to Chairman Robert Menendez and Ranking Senator Bob Corker.

This is a huge show of support, and to UNICEF believers who put your name on the line for the CPRD – thank you!

We still have a long road ahead to ratification. Even with strong bipartisan support, the treaty still faces opposition from a number of senators who think that their constituents either don’t like treaties in general or could care less.

We need to prove them wrong. UNICEF believes that children with disabilities should have the same opportunities – the same rights – to reach their full potential as all other children. It is especially important that the United States ratifies the CRPD, so our country can be the global leader helping other countries remove the barriers and attitudes that hold back children with disabilities.

If you haven’t yet sent letters to your senators, please contact them now.  And keep checking our website for the latest news and actions on the CRPD!

Lucy Meyer, Youth Advocate for Children with Disabilities Lucy Meyer was born with cerebral palsy and is the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's youth spokesperson for children with disabilities. She created a fund in 2011 to support children living with disabilities in developing countries. Donate to Lucy's fund! © Paul Morigi/Getty Images for UNICEF.