CRPD Letter

July 21, 2014

The Honorable Robert Menendez
Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Bob Corker
Ranking Member
Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Corker:

On behalf of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and its more than 2,000 member companies, I write again to express support for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). CEA is the principal U.S. trade association of the consumer electronics and information technologies industries. CEA’s members cumulatively generate more than $208 billion in annual factory sales and employ tens of thousands of people in the United States. CEA is committed to enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities. In fact, the CEA Foundation’s mission is to link seniors and people with disabilities to technologies to enhance their lives.

U.S. ratification of the CRPD will not alter any existing U.S. laws or require mandates, but it will make certain that the protections guaranteed through the ADA are embraced around the world. You can be assured that CEA remains committed to supporting efforts that spur innovative and industry-driven products and services for those with accessibility needs. U.S. ratification of the CRPD would encourage greater demand for U.S. companies’ skills and services as fellow nations begin to adhere to the new international standards.

CEA was deeply involved in the legislative efforts that led to passage of the groundbreaking Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) and continues to engage extensively in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory and standards activities relating to accessibility. CEA is currently working with the FCC to implement the CVAA so that all consumers, with and without disabilities, have products and services that meet their needs.

Given the U.S. commitment to disability rights through the Americans with Disabilities Act, the CVAA and other laws, I am disappointed that ratification of the CRPD failed the U.S. Senate by five votes in December 2012. Fortunately, the July 22 markup is another chance to correct this error and I urge U.S. ratification of the CRPD.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Shapiro 
President and CEO