Disability Rights


NEW YORK – September 9, 2013 – “If you don’t like something, change it. If something bothers you, confront it.”  These powerful words from a Spanish public service announcement represent the efforts the Kingdom of Spain has made toward improving the human rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in their country. The public service announcement was shown as part of today’s award ceremony honoring Spain’s efforts.

At the ceremony Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain accepted the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award on behalf of the Kingdom of Spain.  David B. Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, presented the award to Her Majesty.  Also in attendance were Ivan Šimonović,UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Annette Lantos, wife of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, and other dignitaries.

Sponsored by the Lantos Foundation and the Roosevelt Institute, the award recognizes the significant progress Spain has made in advancing the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all societal areas.  

Susan B. Parker, Senior Advisor & Lead Judge for the award said, “Spain has taken the time to establish broad reaching legislation and implement that same legislation at the national level, at the regional level, and at the local level…They don’t just talk about it; they do it.”

The award is presented to a nation for noteworthy progress in upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to encourage effective, long-term, positive progress by nation states toward inclusion, equal rights, and quality of life for their citizens with disabilities

The award consists of a bronze bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, who contracted polio at the age of 39, and although a paraplegic, unable to walk or stand again unassisted, was four times elected by the American people. Additionally, a $50,000 cash award is given to a non-governmental organization working on behalf of persons with disabilities within the winning nation. 

The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI) received this year’s cash award.  CERMI’s mission is to guarantee equal opportunities for women, men, and children with disabilities and to protect their human rights, ensuring they are fully included in society.

For more information about the award please visit our website.

Queen Sofía of Spain to Receive International Disability Rights Award at United Nations

WHAT: The Kingdom of Spain will be honored at the United Nations as the 2013 recipient of the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award.  The award encourages United Nations member states to work toward full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all societal areas in keeping with United Nations Standards set forth in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The award is sponsored by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and the Roosevelt Institute.

The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI) has been chosen as the recipient of a $50,000 cash grant.

WHO: Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain will accept the award presented by David B. Roosevelt, in the presence of Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović and other dignitaries.

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 10:45 am to 12:00 noon

WHERE: Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations, New York, NY (47th Street and 1st Avenue entrance)

CONTACT: Denise Perron, Lantos Foundation, (603) 226-3636, (603) 290-1067, or deniseperron@lantosfoundation.org     

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  www. fdr-disability-rights-award.org

Note: Media who do not already have United Nations credentials should contact the Spanish Mission at pressoffice@spainun.org, no later than 12pm on Friday September 6th with their full name, ID, date of birth, affiliation and position (photo journalist, writer, video operator, etc.). Media who are credentialed should also contact pressoffice@spainun.org to indicate they will be attending.

Statement on US Senate's Failure to Ratify CRPD

We are very disheartened by the United States Senate’s failure to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We had high hopes that the Senate would harness much needed bi-partisan momentum to ratify this critically important treaty which has enjoyed broad support across the political spectrum. Approval by the Senate would have been the right decision on behalf of all Americans with disabilities, their families and veterans of various armed conflicts. We applaud those Senators who ignored the campaign of misinformation and distortion advanced by some opponents. We hope that this setback will be short-lived and we urge the Senate to reconsider the ratification of CRPD in the new year. The worldwide community of people with disabilities is watching and history is watching as well.