November 14, 2013
Senate Revives Debate on UN Disability Treaty
Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the first of two hearings on U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Modeled after the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), CRPD is an international treaty that provides a framework for countries to embrace the rights and dignity of the more than one billion disabled individuals around the world. Last December, the Senate narrowly failed to ratify CRPD, despite bipartisan support.
This is our best changes to get this passed. We need your help in rallying support in your community and letting your representative know that you're a constituent who cares about ratifying the UN Disability Treaty! Check out our talking points, and use this template to submit a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper.
U.S. Loses Vote at UNESCO
Last week, for the first time ever, the U.S. lost its vote in a United Nations organization â€“ the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) â€“ for failing to pay our dues. UNESCO, charged with promoting education, science, and culture worldwide, works to build democracy from the roots of society, including in critical yet unstable nations like Iraq.
The reason we no longer have a voice in such a vital international organization is an outdated law that forced the U.S. to withdraw all funding for UNESCO â€“ 22 percent of its operational budget â€“ when the Palestinians were granted full membership in 2011.
Make sure Congress gets the message: Tell your representatives that you care about the U.S. restoring its vote in UNESCO â€“ and that they need to make it happen.
UN General Assembly Elects 14 Members to Human Rights Council
On November 12, the UN General Assembly elected 14 members to the Human Rights Council, the United Nationsâ€™ highest human rights organ. While the United States was not running for a seat this year â€“ having been overwhelmingly reelected to the Council in 2012 â€“ the run up to the election was monitored carefully both by UN members and within civil society.
Algeria, China, Cuba, France, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Vietnam, Russia, and the United Kingdom were awarded three-year terms on the Council. South Sudan and Uruguay came up short in their bids for seats on the Human Rights Council.
New Council members will begin their term on the organ in January 2014.
UNA-USA Launches UNA Veterans
According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans trust the U.S. military more than any other American institution. Veterans have unique experiences that tie into many United Nations issues and a unique ability to reach the public due to their service. Veterans are a natural advocacy group to support the UN and U.S. involvement in the UN. That is why we just launched UNA Veterans! If you are a veteran and interested in working with other veterans to support the United Nations, please contact Laura Giroux or visit the website.
What's Happening at the UN
Read the latest and most important news coming out of the United Nations, so you can tell your member of Congress about the important work of the UN. This month:
The UNA-USA Advocacy Update is structured around the UNA-USA Advocacy Agenda, which focuses UNAâ€™s work on four core issue areas: securing U.S.-UN funding; advancing human rights through the UN; encouraging U.S. ratification of international treaties; and supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Also included in the Update is a recent â€śround-upâ€ť of the monthâ€™s most important UN news. If you would like additional information on any of the items included contact the Membership Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.