Secretary Hagel released this statement on November 21, 2013, urging the U.S. Senate to approve the UN treaty, "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."
Secretary Hagel's statement:
"On behalf of America's service members, DoD civilians, and military family members with disabilities, I urge the United States Senate to approve the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
One of the legacies of the past twelve years of war is that thousands of young Americans will carry physical wounds for the rest of their lives. These wounded warriors deserve to have the same opportunities to live, work, and travel as every other American, and to participate fully in society whether at home or abroad. Joining this treaty will allow the United States to help shape international practices for individuals with disabilities that are consistent with our own high standards for access and opportunity. It will also help personnel who have family members with disabilities, who often have to choose between their families and their careers when considering assignments in other countries.
Treating people with respect and dignity is one of the fundamental values of the United States Armed Forces. It is a value that our men and women in uniform fight for around the world. Failing to approve this treaty would send the wrong message to our people, their families, and the world. Approving it would help all people fulfill their potential. That's why I strongly support swift Senate action."