July 24, 2009, President Barack Obama marked the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by announcing that the United States would sign the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention is a treaty committing governments to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and basic freedoms by people with disabilities worldwide. The same day, in his statement commemorating the anniversary of the ADA, Attorney General Eric Holder also lauded the treaty.
On July 30, 2009, Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, signed the treaty on behalf of the United States at U.N. Headquarters in New York. She was joined at the signing ceremony by senior presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett, who announced that the President will create a new senior-level diplomatic post in the State Department to promote the rights of people with disabilities internationally.
The United States joined 141 other countries that have signed the U.N. treaty. The treaty must still be submitted by the President to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
Remarks of President Obama
Remarks of Attorney General Holder
Remarks of Ambassador Rice
White House Senior Advisor Jarrett at Signing Ceremony
Text of Treaty