Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities Africa Region hosts the network’s first ever Regional Conference
The Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) Africa Region has become the first Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to hold a CPwD Regional Conference.
Hosted by the CPA Kenya Branch in Nairobi, Kenya, the Regional Conference took place from 14 – 18 October 2021. It brought together Parliamentarians from across the CPA Africa Region, including many Parliamentarians with disabilities, to discuss the theme of ‘mainstreaming disability considerations in legislative agenda in the 21st century.'
Above: Hon. Dennitah Ghati HSC MP, Chairperson of the CPwD network (first from right), with delegates at the Regional Conference. To view further images please click here.
The hosting of a CPwD Regional Conference represents another landmark moment in the short history of the network. Established in 2017, CPwD is now firmly embedded within the structure of the CPA as its third formal network. Last year, the network selected Regional Champions to represent each of the nine CPA Regions and promote the rights of persons with disabilities (PwDs). It also launched its first publication, the CPwD Disability Inclusive Communication Guidelines, to provide Parliaments with guidance on how to enhance and sensitise their communications with PwDs.
In hosting the Regional Conference, the Parliament of Kenya, home to the new CPwD Chairperson, Hon. Dennitah Ghati HSC MP, reaffirmed its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility for persons with disabilities. The Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, Rt Hon. Justin B. N. Muturi EGH MP, Chairperson of the CPA Africa Region, called on elected representatives across the political spectrum to mainstream disability concerns. He said:
“As we build back from COVID-19, we must ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are always considered by including them in decision-making in the spirit of ‘nothing about us, without us.’”
Above: Rt Hon. Justin B. N. Muturi EGH MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, at the opening of the CPwD Regional Conference.
It was noted that Parliamentarians have been at the forefront of progress on disability issues in Kenya and the wider CPA Africa Region. In 2003, the Parliament of Kenya passed the Persons with Disabilities Act, establishing a National Council with a mandate to implement the disability rights, privileges and protections outlined in the Act. The 2010 National Kenyan Constitution further enshrined disability rights by establishing specific guarantees for PwDs.
Hon. Dr. Makali Mulu MP (Kenya), a Regional Representative for the CPA Africa Region on the CPA International Executive Committee, welcomes delegates to the CPwD Regional Conference.
The CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg, addressing delegates virtually, praised the CPwD Africa Region for hosting the first ever Regional Conference of the network. Setting out the priorities for the network, as stated in the new CPwD Strategic Plan (2021-24), he said:
“Empowering lies at the heart of what the CPwD network is all about. Its purpose, first and foremost, is to provide a voice: a voice for persons with disabilities within the CPA, and a voice for persons with disabilities within their respective Parliaments.”
The CPwD network aims ‘to encourage Commonwealth Parliaments to enable effective and full participation of persons with disabilities at all levels’ and the new CPwD Chairperson, Hon. Dennitah Ghati HSC MP, was elected in September 2021 to serve a three-year term.
To find out more about the CPwD network and its activities , please click here.
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