DIAZ: U.N. disabilities treaty threatens parents’ rights

International body cannot determine what’s best for children

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The United States did the right thing in its recent rejection of the United Nations‘ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) treaty. As the father of a child with disabilities, I applaud the Senate for going beyond deceitful slogans and standing up for families like mine who struggle every day to provide the best care for our precious children with special needs.

One of the reasons for our fight against Obamacare, and one of the reasons Obamacare still remains very unpopular today, is its creation of the infamous Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a steaming pile of bureaucracy dumped right between families and their physicians. Now imagine if they had put the U.N. in charge of IPAB.

As nightmares go, that would rank up there, but it would still be only a small taste of CRPD if the United States ratified it. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities doesn’t even have a definition for “disability.” That means that some new U.N. committee (a “U.N. IPAB”?) would get to define it for us. Perhaps Cuba can move from the human rights committee to this one, so they can tell the United States how we can do better in taking care of the disabled.

What is most troubling about this treaty is its use of the “best interest of the child” standard. It states, “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration.” This sounds great — but a consideration for whom?

When the United States uses the standard under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it is clear that parents — not government bureaucrats — get to decide what is in the best interest of the child. That makes sense. No one loves my child more than I do. My wife and I should be the ones who decide how to best provide for him. Only where there is some clear indication of abuse or neglect should officials get in the way of families and their doctors.

Consideration of what I think is most important for my child, for example — for him to know, experience and cherish God above all — is of no importance whatsoever to “government.” In fact, these days there is complete hostility toward that type of thinking. Under CRPD, the U.N.’s advisory board would get to “consider” what is in the best interest of my child. God help us all. Remember the U.N.’s “amazing” humanitarian effort called the “Oil-for-Food” program?

This “best interest of the child” language comes from the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the United States also has not ratified.

The United States has been the world leader when it comes to the rights of children with special needs. Those of us not born in this country can perhaps see that more clearly than those who have not experienced the health care systems of other countries. Most of the few good things advocated by this treaty are already part of United States law.

There is much work to be done — don’t get me wrong. As I mentioned, it is a real struggle to receive all the help you need when you have a child with special needs, especially for the poor. As it is now, a lot of bureaucracy gets in the way more often than it helps. Still, one thing is clear: We do not make things better for families like mine by removing power from the people (and even our elected officials) and delegating it to an unelected U.N. committee.

CRPD simply does not make things better for children with disabilities or their families in the United States. It complicates them.

The Senate did the right thing by standing up for the families they represent and not caving to international pressure. As usual, the CRPD treaty has a high-minded name but very questionable substance.

The United States should lead by example on this issue around the world. In fact, some of the money we use to promote other questionable things that the country is not fully on board with, like abortion or homosexual “rights” (which have been priorities for this administration), should be used to effect real change on this issue in countries where we know there is mistreatment of the disabled.

There is no question this would be much better than being told by those same countries what we should do here at home.

Mario Diaz is legal counsel for Concerned Women for America.

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