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Virtual CPC Workshops: Resources for MPs

Between December 2021 and January 2022, the CPA hosted four 'Virtual CPC Workshops' for Commonwealth Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. The Virtual CPC Workshops series is a prelude to the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC), to be held in Halifax, Canada in August 2022. The workshops brought together practitioners and experts to discuss major issues that Commonwealth Parliamentarians grapple with every day.
To help our Members use the lessons from the workshops to take action in their own Parliament, and to make sure those who could not attend can still benefit from the expertise of our panellists, we have compiled a set of follow-up resources. From toolkits and reports to case studies and articles, these resources are designed to reinforce the lessons learned from the discussions, act as useful reference materials for policymakers, and spotlight relevant case studies from the Commonwealth.
N.B. This article contains links to resources hosted on external websites. These resources are for educational purposes only and the views expressed on any external website are those of the original author and should not be attributed to the CPA Secretariat. 

How NHRIs and Parliaments can Protect and Promote Disability Rights

Virtual CPC Workshop | 2 December 2021 | 12:00

Journal | The Parliamentarian (2021, Issue 4)

This edition of The Parliamentarian, the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments, explores the challenges and barriers facing people with disabilities in the Commonwealth. In the edition, you can find practical examples of how Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth have taken action in Parliament in support of disability rights.

These include the establishment of a disability caucus in Kenya, the passage of a 'Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act' in Fiji, and the creation of a disability checklist for all government departments in Pakistan.

Case Study | Easy Reads

UK Parliament

Check out these new easy reads produced by the UK Parliament's Learning team. They explain how Parliament works and are designed for people with a learning disability.

Why not do something similar in your Parliament? They are simple to produce and can help to make sure that  people with learning disabilities are afforded the chance to participate equally in democracy.

Report | Protecting Disability Rights during COVID-19

The Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions have some great resources available to help you take action on disability rights. Their report on disabled peoples' rights during COVID-19 features evidence from across the Commonwealth on how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted disability rights.

For a country-specific example, take a look at this report by the Malawi Human Rights Commission on COVID-19 Related Human Rights Violations with a focus on Persons with Disabilities.

Representation and Diversity in Democracy

Virtual CPC Workshop | 7 December 2021 | 16:00

On this episode of Parliamentary Conversations in the Commonwealth, we asked:

How can we give refugees a voice in our democracies?
  • Hon. Ayor Makur Chuot MLC, an MP in Western Australia and former South Sudanese refugee, on how building pathways into leadership for resettled refugees could bring a transformative, top-down change to attitudes to refugees
  • Sally Gandar, Head of Parliamentary Advocacy & Legal Advisor at the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, on why listening to personal testimony from refugees is essential to understanding the real life impact that laws can have on vulnerable people
  • Louise Donovan, UNHCR Cox's Bazar, on how, even during the worst crises, there are ways to set up democratic structures and empower those living in limbo to re-establish a sense of agency and control.

Network | Global Equality Caucus

The Global Equality Caucus is an international network of Parliamentarians and elected representatives dedicated to tackling discrimination against LGBT+ people. Rt Hon. Lord Herbert CBE PC, the Chairperson of the Caucus, spoke about its work at our Representation and Diversity workshop.

Membership of the Caucus is open to legislators across the world, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. Parliamentarians interested in joining the Caucus can sign up here.

Rt Hon. Lord Herbert CBE PC will Chair the United Kingdom's 'Safe To Be Me: A Global Equality Conference,' set to be hosted in London from 27 to 29 June 2022. The Conference will be the largest event of its kind and will focus on making progress on legislative reform, tackling violence and discrimination, and ensuring equal access to public services for LGBT people.

Case Study: Workplace Equality Networks in the UK Parliament

Read this blog post from Irving Anderson, who works in the UK Parliament, about how the introduction of Workplace Equality Networks (WENs) has helped to create a diverse and inclusive workplace for all.

Interested to find out more about how to set up and run a Workplace Equality Network in your own Parliament? In 2022, the CPA will publish a report examining case studies of parliamentary workplace equality networks from across the Commonwealth. Sign up to our mailing list to receive it straight to your inbox, or email to find out more.

Relationships between State and Sub-State Parliaments in the Commonwealth

Virtual CPC Workshop | 9 December 2021 | 08:00

Paper | Dialogues on Distribution of Powers and Responsibilities in Federal Countries

This paper was published as part of the Global Dialogue on Federalism project, a joint initiative of the International Association of Centers For Federal Studies (IACFS) and the Forum of Federations.

The paper explores variations in the constitutional form, scope and operation of the distribution of powers in different federations. It includes case studies of the federal systems in Canada, India, and Germany.

Article | How autonomous are the Crown Dependencies?

UK House of Commons Library

Above: Tynwald, the Parliament of the Isle of Man

This article by the UK House of Commons Library examines the constitutional status of the UK Crown Dependencies - the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey - and how they are governed.

Parliamentary Responses to Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Virtual CPC Workshop | 11 January 2022 | 14:00

Info Hub | OSCE PA Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) is the parliamentary dimension of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly works to advance counter-terrorism efforts in the OSCE region through its Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism.

Visit the Committee's webpage to find out more about its work and access useful resources for Parliamentarians, including their latest report: 'Strengthening Border Security and Information Sharing in the OSCE Region: A Parliamentary Oversight Exercise.'

The report provides a comprehensive look at the state of implementation of a key UN Security Council Resolution on addressing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters returning or relocating from conflict zones.

Case Study | Canada's Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Parliaments can always learn something from one another about best practice, regardless of their structure or size. At this workshop, Canadian MP Hon. John McKay gave an overview of Canada's counter-terrorism strategy and preventing radicalization to violence work. Why not explore Canada's policy framework in more detail and choose two or three elements that could be adapted and employed in your own jurisdiction?

The Prevention Project, led by RUSI's Terrorism and Conflict group, aims to analyse global preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) interventions and look at ‘what can work and what has not worked.'

Explore the papers published by the project or catch-up on their seminar series on P/CVE initiatives via the project's website.

For an examination of what COVID-19 means for P/CVE, read our panellist Christopher Hockey's article with Dr. Imogen Parsons. The article explores how extremist groups have adapted their operations, recruitment and communications during the pandemic and recommends actions in response.

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