Update: The United States signed the treaty on July 30, 2009.
This Friday, July 24th, at 4:45pm, President Obama will indicate his intention to sign onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The document will likely be delivered to the UN on July 30th. This is a historic occasion—one that will positively affect web accessibility here in the U.S.
Many WebAIM readers are familiar with the impact that this UN treaty will have on accessibility (We have posted on this topic before). The CRPD embeds requirements for accessible information throughout the document and it includes an entire section (Section 9) devoted to accessibility. The authors of the CRPD view the work of accessibility as an important mechanism for a â€œcivil societyâ€ to affect true social inclusion.
Once the U.S. is a signatory to the CRPD, we will begin the long process to align our national laws and policies to that of the UN treaty. There will be much work ahead for those of us who advocate for accessible web content. We in the U.S. have waited a long time for this moment. Although our internal ratification process may take some time, let us give thanks that our nation has begun to join 140 others who have already signed onto the CRPD. As the 19th anniversary of the ADA draws near, this is a fitting step toward providing persons with disabilities with important extensions of their civil rights.