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Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities

Updated Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines for Parliaments launched

The Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network has launched an updated ‘Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines’ to provide detailed and practical guidance to Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on how to enhance and sensitize their communications and interactions with persons with disabilities.

Developed in collaboration with disability charity, Leonard Cheshire, the Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines emphasise the importance of inclusive language and communications in Parliaments.

The CPwD network recognises that accessible and inclusive communications are essential for ensuring equitable participation for all individuals, including those with disabilities, in democratic processes.

The need for disability-inclusive language and communications resonates with the CPA’s commitment to upholding the values of equality, accessibility and non-discrimination in parliamentary institutions across the Commonwealth.

This also aligns with the principles outlined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Commonwealth Charter and the CPwD network is dedicated to eliminating barriers and fostering an environment where people with disabilities can fully engage in parliamentary affairs.

The team behind the Guidelines conducted research amongst the CPA’s membership of almost 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures as well as non-governmental organisations. The Guidelines provide various examples of best practice that can be adopted by both Parliaments and Parliamentarians in order to continue to ensure that they sensitively address Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and visitors to the institution with disabilities.

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network, Hon. Laura Kanushu said:

“The inclusion of Parliamentarians with disabilities is of vital importance to advancing parliamentary democracy across the Commonwealth and is a key priority of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities network. These updated guidelines will support Parliaments in becoming more ‘disability confident’ in their communications with and about Parliamentarians with disabilities across the Commonwealth.”

The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg said:

“The updated Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines primarily focus on promoting disability-inclusive language and communications for Parliaments. The Guidance is designed to assist parliamentary institutions in adopting practices encouraging respect, dignity and equal participation for people with disabilities. Giving a meaningful voice to people with disabilities in Parliaments and Legislatures leads to improvements in oversight, equal representation and sensitive legislation.”

The CPwD’s updated ‘Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines’ are available to download on the CPA website or by emailing hq.sec@cpahq.org

Download the Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines

Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines - Updated

The CPwD Disability Inclusion Guidelines provide guidance to Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on how to enhance and sensitize their communications with persons with disabilities. This version was updated and published in May 2024.

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The Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network, within the wider Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, facilitates activities and programmes to champion and increase the representation of persons with disabilities in Commonwealth Parliaments and works towards the mainstreaming of disability considerations in all CPA activities and programmes. The network supports elected representatives with disabilities in 180 Parliaments and Legislatures across the Commonwealth and ensures that issues of persons with disabilities are brought to the fore in parliamentary debate and legislation.

For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org

Related Resources

CPwD Strategic Plan 2021 - 2024

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Plain-Text: CPwD Strategic Plan 2021 - 2024

This is a plain-text, accessible version of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) Strategic Plan 2021 - 2024, which sets out the network's mission statement, outcomes, outputs and thematic priorities.

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