Statement by Kathleen G. Sebelius Secretary of Health and Human Services On US Signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
Today, the United States joins 141 other nations who have signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The signing of the UN Convention sends an important message that this country is committed to equal rights for people with disabilities, in the United States and around the world.
Another important example of our commitment is the President’s launch of the Year of Community Living in June. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has already begun to carry out the Community Living initiative by establishing an HHS Coordinating Council, led by the Office on Disability.
The Administration on Aging, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and — most recently — the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Office of Public Health and Science have joined the Coordinating Council. I am pleased that we have assembled such considerable expertise to ensure that living independently with a disability is a real choice.
HHS is proud to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first new UN human rights convention of the 21st century. We look forward to advancing dignity, autonomy, full inclusion, and equality of opportunity for Americans, and for people with disabilities around the world.