As of Dec 2006, the United Nations accepted a blanket treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ("The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities"). However 20 of the 192 UN nations has to ratify this treaty in order for it to pass, which they'll be able to begin signing and accepting starting this coming March 30, 4 days from now. Once twenty countries sign it, it will go into affect.
A wonderful treaty all-around, this Convention has the opportunity to bring rights to disabled individuals in countries that do not currently have them. So what's wrong with Americans? The George W Bush Administration refuses to sign this international treaty, stating that the existing U.S. ADA Law is sufficient enough.
True, the ADA is one of the world's most advanced law on the subject, surpassed now only by the UK's version, the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), only because of its enforcing agency that the US has yet to emulate.
But we're fighting for an unheard of INTERNATIONAL acceptance of Disability Rights here, people, and without the US's signature, Bush is, in a way, stating that he doesn't support the rights of people with disabilities in other countries. If he DID sign it, it would mean leverage for the millions of dollars in aid that the US provides to other countries; i.e. if you don't sign, we don't give you money. I understand that the US is not the world's policing agency (or so we keep trying to deny and prove at the same time).
So in contrast, in NOT signing it Bush is also denying Americans rights to the additional Articles that the ADA does not mention, such as the "right to equal access in bank loans, financial affairs, and credit." (Article 14 of the Convention) The Administration is also sending the message that the treaty is not WORTH signing, and in which case, perhaps encouraging other countries to do the same. I'm hoping that his message is ignored by the other major countries who have international influence and, by now, more appeal to nations that are turning on the Bush Administration and their backwards thinking. (Princess Diana must be rolling in her grave.)
In my opinion, this is just one more strike against the Bush Administration, who have spent the last six years screwing this beautiful country up, including bringing in more Americans with Disabilities due to the Iraqi war than we've seen since Vietnam. But that is just my opinion.
But we have a choice. Write your congressman and beg him to override Bush's decision in signing this treaty. This IS still a Democracy, the last I looked. Maybe our next President will sign it.