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Autism Speaks Applauds Obama Administration for Signing UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

August 05, 2009

Last Thursday, Autism Speaks' President, Mark Roithmayr, joined representatives from several disabilities organizations at a reception for the United States' signing of the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The reception was hosted by H.E. Ms. Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, and The Honorable Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement. The United States became the 142nd country to sign the Convention.

Pictured L-R: The Honorable Ms. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; Permanent Representative of the U.S. to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice; and Ms. Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations.

President Obama made history by stating his intent to sign the CRPD at the commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In a proclamation,
President Obama officially announced the United States' plan to sign the CRPD, the first new human rights convention of the 21st century adopted by the United Nations. The signing of this convention represents “a paradigm shift in protecting the human rights of 650 million people with disabilities worldwide.”

According to the United Nations, the CRPD urges equal protection and equal benefits under the law for all citizens, rejects discrimination in all its forms, and calls for the full participation and inclusion in society of all persons with disabilities. The underlying themes of the Convention include respect, dignity, inclusion and accessibility, among others, which are directly in line with Autism Speaks' national efforts to raise awareness, advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families, and fund much-needed research. In December 2008, Autism Speaks became the first and only autism organization to become an associated non governmental organization (NGO) with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI/NGO) and eagerly looks forward to supporting the U.S. Government in its efforts to ratify CRPD.