VA Secretary Shinseki Supports Ratifying the Disabilities Treaty

November has been a busy month with regards to the pending ratification of The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, also known as the Disabilities Treaty. This international treaty seeks to provide equal rights to persons with disabilities in all ratifying countries.

On November 21, Senator John Kerry led a hearing on the Disabilities Treaty, urging the ratification of the convention in an effort to provide equal rights to disabled Americans when traveling abroad. The same day, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki issued a press release in support of the treaty.

In his statement, Secretary Shinseki emphasized the importance of the treaty in helping the 5.5 million disabled veterans under the care of his department. According to Secretary Shinseki, “By joining the treaty, we will be helping the 5.5 million Veterans with disabilities and the 50 million Americans with disabilities study and work with dignity and pursue greater opportunity abroad with the same access they enjoy at home.”

Currently, more than 130 countries have joined the international treaty in support of equality and fair treatment for those with disabilities. In December of 2012 the Senate failed to ratify the treaty by a mere five votes. Since then, Senator Kerry and many national disability organizations have lobbied for ratification. Secretary Shinseki is one of several prominent government officials voicing his support of the treaty.

If ratified, the treaty would help the 50 million disabled Americans travel, work, and study abroad with better accessibility measures and more protection of their basic human rights. It also helps promote American businesses and reinforce the United States as a leader in equality for disabled individuals.

While the United States was one of the first nations to adopt legislation banning the discrimination of disabled individuals, it has yet to ratify the same rights on an international level. Our nation provides benefits to disabled veterans through the VA veterans disability benefits program which compensates any eligible veteran with a service-connected disability. If you have been denied benefits from the VA, contact our veteran’s disability firm today to learn about your right to appeal 1-855-855-8992.