Durbin Introduces Kirk & Duckworth at Senate Committee Hearing on Disability Rights Treaty

Stroke survivor and Iraq war veteran testify regarding the importance of passing bipartisan and historic treaty on the rights of the disabled

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced two members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) – prior to their testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


Today, both Kirk – who suffered a life-threatening ischemic stroke last year – and Duckworth – who was injured while serving in the Illinois Army National Guard in Iraq – voiced their support of the CRPD, which would recognize the fundamental values of non-discrimination and equal access for persons with disabilities around the world. Despite strong bipartisan support, the treaty failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority in a disappointing vote last Congress.


“Sixty-one Senators voted in favor of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last year, five votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify the treaty. It is my strong hope that these hearings will put to rest some of the misunderstandings and misrepresentations that helped stall ratification of the CRPD last year,” Durbin said. “And I am proud that my fellow colleagues from the State of Illinois have joined us to do just that. I admire the dedication and service of both Senator Kirk and Representative Duckworth to our country – in so many different ways – and I am grateful for their presence today, speaking to this Committee on such an important topic.”


Durbin has been a vocal supporter of the CRPD since the Convention opened in 2007. The treaty is also supported by 165 disability rights organizations, 21 veterans groups, former President George H.W. Bush, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) and a bipartisan group of Senators.


One hundred and thirty-eight nations have ratified the CRPD, which was written to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the convention agree to protect and promote the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and ensure they are equally protected under the law. Because of laws like the ADA, the United States is already in full compliance with all of the requirements of the treaty. Ratification of this treaty requires no new laws, has no impact on U.S. sovereignty, and costs no money.