Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today marked the International Day of Disabled Persons by calling on the Administration to stop delaying U.S. approval of an international document guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities worldwide.

“The United States must help ensure the full extension of human rights to people living with disabilities,” Lantos said. “Today, I renew the morally unambiguous call to the White House to sign and move forward with ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.  There is no good reason for us to refuse to take part in this important global agreement.”

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the U.N. Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities in December of 2006.  It was the most expeditiously negotiated human rights treaty in the history of the organization, and was signed by 81 Member States and the European Community on the first day it opened for signature. The convention currently has 118 signatories. The United States is not among them.

“The remarkable people in this country and around the world living with disabilities day in and day out deserve our utmost respect and admiration,” Lantos said. “The fact that the United States has yet to sign the U.N. Convention on this matter is despicable and shameful. We must embrace the values that this document embodies, and make our commitment to uphold it without delay.”

The annual International Day of Disabled Persons aims to promote an understanding of the issues faced by people with disabilities and to mobilize support for their dignity, rights and well-being.