CPA Academy
Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Statement by CPwD Chairperson

Hon. Laura Kanushu, MP, CPwD Chairperson

 

 

 

Statement by Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities network, Hon. Laura Kanushu, MP, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022.
Download an accessible, plain-text version of the statement.

- Statement Begins -

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I want to recognise the disability champions in the Commonwealth and around the world who are working every day to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

Since becoming the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network in August this year, I have had the honour of meeting disability champions from several of the 56 countries of the Commonwealth.

Meeting these people - Members of Parliament, academics, businesspeople, youth activists – has given me real hope that we are making progress towards a more accessible and equitable future.

At the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in August, I met Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. Hon. Qualtrough, a lifelong disability champion who is legally blind, talked inspiringly about her work on the Accessible Canada Act, the country’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan and the goal of a barrier-free Canada by 2040.

I also met Dave Dame, Director of Accessibility at Microsoft. He told people in the room about the untapped potential of accessible technologies like speech-to-text and closed captioning. He explained how these technologies, which benefit not just persons with disabilities but everyone, are being integrated into the computer and mobile software that billions of people around the world use every day.

This month, at the 2nd CPwD Africa Regional Conference, I heard stories from civil servants, charity workers and activists across Africa who are working to guarantee disabled persons equal opportunities and rights in education, employment and elections.

For example, Dr Magreth Matonya, Director of Special and Inclusive Education in the Tanzanian Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, told us about new inclusivity initiatives in the Tanzanian education system, such as the publication of a Tanzanian Sign Language dictionary.

The meetings I have had and the stories I have heard make me confident that the call for equality for persons with disabilities is growing louder, and the number of disability champions is growing.

As elected representatives, it is our job to take this momentum into the debating chambers and Committee rooms of Parliament. I call on all Commonwealth Parliamentarians to be disability champions in your respective Parliaments.

Pass new legislation to enshrine disability rights within national law. Scrutinise government policies to ensure they are in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Use your platform to bring the stories of persons with disabilities into the public eye.

The Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities network stands ready to support you in this work. Our aim is to equip Members and parliamentary staff with the expertise to become disability champions within their Parliament. I urge all Commonwealth Parliaments to seek the support of the CPwD network in their journey to becoming disability inclusive institutions.

Thank you and I wish you all the best on International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

-ENDS-

 


Making Parliaments Accessible for Persons with Disabilities
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Contributions to the CPA Parliamentary Academy

This course offers guidance on how Parliaments can adjust facilities and processes to be accessible to persons with disabilities. It explains what it means for a Parliament to be accessible, building accessibility, transport accessibility, accessible communications and accessible technologies.

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How Parliaments marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022

Every year on 3 December, people around the world mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The day, created by the United Nations in 1992, aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

 

Legislative Assembly of Alberta (Canada)

House of Commons, Canada

States of Guernsey

Lok Sabha, India

Western Cape Provincial Parliament (South Africa)

UK Parliament

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