The LSA Executive Committee adopted the following statement, which was sent to members of the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2014:

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) strongly urges US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The mission of the LSA is to advance the scientific study of language. As an organization that studies all human languages and advocates for the language rights of all human beings, the LSA is rightfully concerned with the well-being of deaf and hard-of-hearing people, particularly with respect to access to education, medicine, employment, and full participation in civil and personal life. Likewise, the LSA is concerned with the well-being of all people who have a disorder that impacts language ability and use with respect to the same range of rights.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides a framework for comprehensively addressing the rights of persons with disabilities, to be implemented by each nation consistent with its own legal and administrative systems. The Convention explicitly recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities to enjoy equal access to medical facilities, education, workplaces, and communications technologies. Furthermore, it calls on nations to support research and development on adaptive goods and services, as well as new assistive technologies; encourages international cooperation in research, facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge, and standards for sharing medical and technological advances; and reiterates the prohibition against medical or scientific experimentation on any person without their free consent.

The Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, following years of global negotiation in which the United States played a key role and the Americans with Disabilities Act served as the model. A majority of the world’s nations have subsequently become a party to the Convention, giving them and the industries they support the opportunity to engage at a global level in the development and implementation of accessible programs, policies and products to improve the lives of persons living with disabilities.

Download a PDF of the official statement on LSA Letterhead.