Disability References in the ICCPR

February 6, 2012

The United States ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1992. The ICCPR, which has 167 ratifications, commits parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process.

The United States just recently submitted its fourth periodic report on its implementation of this treaty. The report, which is reviewed by an international monitoring body called the Human Rights Committee, includes numerous references to disability. In addition, paragraphs 91-96 focus solely on measures taken in the United States to ensure equal protection for persons with disabilities. For instance, this section focuses on federal initiatives that seek advancement in community living options for people with disabilities and the enforcement of the Olmstead decision. Paragraph 94 discusses the United States' signature to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as further commitment to advancing disability equality in the U.S.

Other references to disability and federal legislation relating to the rights of people with disabilities can be found throughout the document. Disability is an integrated concept in this report and people with disabilities are recognized as a protected class. The report highlights the progress made in U.S. disability rights in the recent past and also provides a tool for other countries seeking to strengthen their own disability rights framework. The date for examination of the U.S. report by the international Human Rights Committee has not yet been set.

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