I have blogged about this on Mad In America and realize I had not updated the CHRUSP blog after sharing views in favor of ratification even with the set of reservations, understandings and declarations proposed by the administration.
On July 26, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee incorporated new RUDs, the most objectionable of which is one we are calling the "exceptionalism" declaration. It says that, in light of the reservations being made, U.S. law fulfills or exceeds its obligations under the treaty.
We have to parse this: together with the federalism reservation made by the administration - which says that in respect of areas under the jurisdiction of states, the U.S. only undertakes obligations appropriate in a federal system, such as ADA enforcement, with the objective of full implementation - are we to read it as saying that the U.S. government does, or does not, take on the obligation to take measures appropriate to a federal system with the objective of full implementation?
We have to recall that it's appropriate to a federal system to pass civil rights laws, constitutional amendments, laws placing conditions on spending, that would constrain the states and be aimed at making them comply with human rights norms. But the exceptionalism declaration seems to say that the status quo would be maintained with regard to both federal and state U.S. law.
We should also recall that it's not only state law that is at issue in relation to civil commitment and forced psychiatric interventions, it is also federal Supreme Court decisions, and possibly also assumptions built into federal laws and regulations. Where does the declaration leave the U.S. with respect to those obligations?
From my vantage point now, I consider that it may have been a mistake to not object to the administration's federalism reservation. It is wrong, and it does go beyond what they did in earlier treaties, to disavow the international obligation to guarantee the compliance by sub-federal jurisdictions with human rights norms.
Here is my blog post on Mad in America that goes into more detail describing all the RUDs.
And here is a fact sheet by grass roots activists telling about rights the CRPD guarantees, that the U.S. is rejecting when they falsely say that our law complies.
Watch for more. There are things we can do internationally to raise objections to the RUDs and we have support from human rights organizations as well as the grass roots mad movement.
I'm inspired tonight by the words and actions of Pussy Riot, to be more bold and refuse any deference to authoritarianism that tries to limit us. We have the right to not be locked up for being who we are - psychiatrically incarcerated people are also prisoners of conscience - and the right to say so.