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What is the UNCRPD? What does it propose to do?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international treaty that President Obama signed on July 30, 2009. The scope of the treaty is indefinite, because the treaty provides no definition of “disabilities,” saying only that it is “an evolving concept.” The CRPD requires each nation that adopts it to guarantee that it will provide political, civil, social, educational, and cultural rights for persons with disabilities. This requires the adopting nation to spend money sufficient to accomplish these purposes and requires regular reporting to the United Nations to ensure that sufficient funds are being expended and to ensure that the other legal requirements are being met.
Why does HSLDA oppose it?
We believe the CRPD would threaten homeschooling and parental rights. It would override existing state laws, seriously damaging state’s rights. It would surrender our nation’s sovereignty to unelected UN bureaucrats. And it is unnecessary because of the strong protections for people with disabilities provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other U.S. laws. For more information, see The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Danger to Homeschool Families: 15 Specific Problems, by HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris.*
What is the current status of the treaty?
Ratification of the CRPD was rejected by the U.S. Senate on December 4, 2012 by a 61–38 vote. This fell six votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify any treaty. However, supporters of the treaty promised to bring it up for another ratification vote. In November of 2013, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held two rounds of hearings on the CRPD, including one where HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris testified against the treaty. On July 22, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12–6 to once again send the CRPD to the full Senate for a ratification vote. Supporters of the treaty are lobbying senators to support the treaty since supporters are a handful of votes short of the 67 votes necessary for the Senate to ratify the CRPD. There is a very strong likelihood that the U.S. Senate will hold a vote on the CRPD before December 31, 2014.
Would ratifying the treaty affect future U.S. law?
Yes. Along with becoming the supreme law of the land, the treaty would require that all U.S. law regarding persons with disabilities conform to UN mandates. For more information, see The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Danger to Homeschool Families: 15 Specific Problems, by HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris.
Who are the most vocal supporters of the CRPD in the Senate?
Senators Harry Reid (NV), Bob Menendez (NJ), Barbara Boxer (CA), John Barrasso (WY), Dick Durbin (IL), John McCain (AZ), and Tom Harkin (IA) are the key proponents in the Senate. Secretary of State John Kerry, President Barack Obama, and former Senator Bob Dole (KS) are also steadfast supporters of the CRPD.
Who are the key senators opposing the treaty?

Senators Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX), Marco Rubio (FL), Mike Lee (UT), Jim Risch (ID), Pat Toomey (PA), Ron Johnson (WI), and James Inhofe (OK) are all strong opponents of the treaty.

There are 35 senators who voted against the treaty in December 2012 who are still in the Senate. They are:

Lamar Alexander (TN)
John Boozman (AR)
Saxby Chambliss (GA)
Tom Coburn (OK)
Bob Corker (TN)
Mike Crapo (ID)
Michael Enzi (WY)
Chuck Grassley (IA)
Dean Heller (NV)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Ron Johnson (WI)
Mike Lee (UT)

Jerry Moran (KS)
Rob Portman (OH)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Jeff Sessions (AL)
John Thune (SD)
David Vitter (LA)
Roy Blunt (MO)
Richard Burr (NC)
Daniel Coats (IN)
Thad Cochran (MS)
John Cornyn (TX)
Lindsey Graham (SC)

Orrin Hatch (UT)
John Hoeven (ND)
James Inhofe (OK)
Mike Johanns (NE)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Rand Paul (KY)
James Risch (ID)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Richard Shelby (AL)
Pat Toomey (PA)
Roger Wicker (MS)

In addition, four new senators were elected in November of 2012 who were not yet sworn in when the full Senate voted on the CRPD on December 4, 2012, but who have indicated that they oppose the CRPD: Deb Fischer (NE), Tim Scott (SC), Ted Cruz (TX), and Jeff Flake (AZ). Jeff Flake is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and voted against the CRPD in committee on July 22, 2014.

Former Senators Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint are also active advocates against the CRPD.

What has HSLDA done to oppose the treaty?
Just days after President Obama sent the CRPD to the Senate for ratification, HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris began urging homeschoolers to contact their senators and ask them to oppose the treaty. Concerned homeschoolers flooded the Senate with calls and emails. This impressive response ultimately delayed the vote on the treaty by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and rallied a strong group of senators to help defeat the treaty in December 2012.

Additionally, Farris testified against the treaty before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2012 and again in 2013, and HSLDA’s federal relations representatives have met with key senators and their staff urging them to oppose the treaty. HSLDA continues to urge homeschoolers to contact their senators and ask them to oppose the treaty, and concerned homeschoolers continue to flood the Senate with calls and emails.

Is HSLDA doing anything differently to keep it from passing now?
HSLDA’s federal relations department is once again contacting key senators and urging them to oppose this treaty. The phone calls and emails of homeschoolers across the nation helped defeat the CRPD the first time, and we will continue to encourage our members and supporters of freedom to contact their senators.

In addition, a massive coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum have joined in this battle to oppose the CRPD. These include Concerned Women for America, C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute),, Eagle Forum, Heritage Action for America, Family Research Council Action, Christian Coalition of America, Able Americans, 912 Super Seniors, Patriot Voices, and more. We encourage you to read this July 22, 2014 coalition letter to see the host of national organizations standing together against the CRPD.

The battle has not ended, and we appreciate your continued vigilance in protecting our nation's sovereignty, parental rights, and our children.

UNCRPD Timeline

  • December 13, 2006—The UN General Assembly adopts the CRPD.
  • July 30, 2009—President Obama signs the CRPD.
  • May 18, 2012—President Obama sends the CRPD to the Senate for ratification.
  • May 29, 2012—HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris urges homeschoolers to contact their senators and ask them to oppose CRPD.
  • July 20, 2012—Calls from concerned homeschoolers delay the vote of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the treaty.
  • July 26, 2012—Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by then-Senator John Kerry, passes the CRPD by a vote of 13–6.
  • September 2012—Senate adjourns until after the election without voting on the CRPD.
  • December 4, 2012—The CRPD is defeated in the Senate by a vote of 61–38. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other CRPD supporters pledge to try to ratify the CRPD again.
  • November 5, 2013—Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holds new hearing on the CRPD. HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris testifies against the treaty.
  • December 16, 2014—113th Congress concludes as the House and Senate return home. The 114th Congress which will begin in January 2015 will be controlled by the Republican Party as a result of the midterm elections. The new leadership of the Senate opposes the CRPD.

* For more information on the specific dangerous provisions of this treaty, please see this article by HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris.

Document updated on 8/28/2014