67th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference
Seven people, including two wheelchair users, smile at the camera in front of banners promoting the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities network
CPA Network

Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD)

  

Recognising the need to increase representation of persons with disabilities in political institutions, the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network has been established to facilitate activities and programmes to champion and increase the representation of persons with disabilities in Commonwealth parliaments and to work towards the mainstreaming of disability considerations in all CPA activities and programmes.

CPwD Mission

To encourage Commonwealth Parliaments to enable effective and full participation of persons with disabilities at all levels

CPwD Governance and Structure

Learn more about the network and who we are

CPwD Chairperson

Hon. Laura Kanushu, Member of the Parliament of Uganda

Hon. Laura Kanushu, MP (Uganda) was elected as the CPwD Chairperson at the CPwD Regional Champions meeting held in the margins of the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Halifax, Canada in August 2022. In the same year, the CPwD Chairperson also became an Officer of the Association and a Member of the CPA Executive Committee.

Senator Paul Richards (Trinidad and Tobago) is the CPwD Vice-Chairperson and was also elected at the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.

Biography

Hon. Laura Kanushu is a Ugandan lawyer, politician and legislator. She represents people with disabilities in the Parliament of Uganda, where she is a member of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). Her career as a human rights advocate has focused especially for people with disabilities and she is the Executive Director of Legal Action for People with Disabilities (LAPD). She is an Executive Member of the Uganda Women's Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) as the people with disabilities representative.

In the Parliament of Uganda, she is a Member of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline and she is also a Member of the Gender Labour and Social Development Committee.

Previous CPwD Chairpersons

2021 - 2022: Hon. Dennitah Ghati, HSC (Kenya)

2019 - 2021: Hon. Kevin S. Murphy (Nova Scotia)

CPwD Regional Champions

In 2020, the network established its governing committee of nine regional champions. The CPwD Regional Champions have been chosen to represent each of the CPA’s nine Regions and will promote the rights of Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities in their Region and represent disability interests within the CPA.

The current list of Regional Champions are as follows:

• Hon. Timothy Wanyonyi, MP (Kenya National Assembly - CPA Africa Region)

• Hon. Sudarshana Denipitiya, MP (Parliament of Sri Lanka - CPA Asia Region)

• Liesl Tesch, AM, MP (New South Wales Legislative Assembly - CPA Australia Region)

• Jeremy Balfour, MSP (Scottish Parliament - CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region)

• Hon. Shane Thompson, MLA (Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories - CPA Canada Region)

• Senator Paul Richards (Senate of Trinidad and Tobago - CPA Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region)

• Smt. Supriya Sule, MP (Lok Sabha, Parliament of India - CPA India Region)

• Hon. Viam Pillay, MP (Fiji Parliament - CPA Pacific Region)

• Senator Hon. Isaiah Jacob (Dewan Negara, Parliament of Malaysia - CPA South-East Asia Region)

 

Download the CPwD Strategic Plan

CPwD Strategic Plan 2021 - 2024

The Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) Strategic Plan 2021 - 2024 sets out the network's mission statement, outcomes, outputs and thematic priorities.

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.

CPwD Programmes

Learn more about the network's projects, activities and events

CPwD Capital Investment Fund - Apply Now

The CPwD Capital Investment Fund is a reserve of funding established by the CPA Secretariat in 2021 to raise the accessibility of CPA member Parliaments.

The priorities for the Fund include but are not limited to, improving the physical accessibility of Parliaments, procurement of assistive technology, or supporting persons with disabilities to seek higher office. 

In 2022, the Parliament of Jamaica used CPwD funding to implement several changes to the physical infrastructure of Gordon House, the Parliament building, to better accommodate wheelchair users.

In 2023, the Parliaments of Montserrat, Scotland, Sierra Leone, and Yukon were supported with adaptations to their respective institutions. Examples of projects that took place for these Parliaments included the conversion of laws into braille and easy-read formats, procurement of equipment for broadcasting sittings, and the installation of automatic door openers.

Find out more

Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines

The CPwD 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. This version of the toolkit was updated and published in May 2024. 

Download the Disability Communications Guidelines

CPwD Resources

Browse CPA and Commonwealth articles and publications
A smiling man wearing a hat moves through the corridors of the Scottish Parliament on his mobility scooter.

Blog | How to host a disability outreach event in Parliament

Jeremy Balfour, MSP, shares his experience of convening the Scottish Parliament's inaugural Disability Summit.
Read the blog

Blog | Liesl Tesch on the power of disability outreach work

Liesl Tesch, MP, Australia's CPwD Regional Champion, reflects on her experience at the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and the role of disability champions in Parliament.
Read the blog

Video | How Zambia added sign language to parliamentary broadcasts

Hear from the people who initiated, managed and benefitted from the project to add sign language interpretation to parliamentary broadcasts in Zambia.
Watch the documentary
A photo of the Legislative Buildings of the Isle of Man, a large white rounded building on a street corner

Blog | Why your Parliament should conduct an accessibility audit

Members and parliamentary staff discuss the Isle of Man’s journey towards a more accessible Parliament and the support provided by the CPwD network.
Read the blog

Blog | Making Parliaments diverse workplaces

How Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks (WEDNs) have helped the UK Parliament create a diverse and inclusive workplace for all.
Read the blog

Download our resources

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.

CPwD Network Information Leaflet

The leaflet provides information on how the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network is organised and the activities and programmes it provides for Members.

Mental Health Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments

This toolkit provides guidance, advice and education on how to protect and promote the mental health and well-being of Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.

Related Videos

Use the 'Playlist' button (in-player, top right) to browse our webinars, masterclasses & more...

CPwD News

Updated Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines for Parliaments launched
News

Updated Disability Inclusive Communications Guidelines for Parliaments launched

The Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network has updated its guidelines for Parliaments on how to enhance their communications with persons with disabilities.

MPs visit Ghanaian disability project in margins of 66th CPC
Seven people, including two wheelchair users, smile at the camera in front of banners promoting the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities network
News

MPs visit Ghanaian disability project in margins of 66th CPC

Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities highlight local projects working with persons with disabilities during 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Ghana

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Statement by CPwD Chairperson
News

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Statement by CPwD Chairperson

Statement by Hon. Laura Kanushu, MP, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022, plus reports from Commonwealth Parliaments.

Commonwealth Parliamentarians in Africa Region discuss inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities
News

Commonwealth Parliamentarians in Africa Region discuss inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities

Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities Africa Regional Conference in Tanzania

New courses on climate change and accessibility launched
News

New courses on climate change and accessibility launched

New courses on climate change and accessibility for the CPA Parliamentary Academy launched ahead of 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Canada

Diversity in Parliament: Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks
News

Diversity in Parliament: Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks

New CPA publication introduces Workplace Equality & Diversity Networks (WEDNs) and provides examples of their use in Commonwealth Parliaments.

Meet the CPA HQ Team

Contact us if you'd like to know more about the network
James Pinnell
Deputy Head of Programmes - Multilateral Engagement
CPA Headquarters Secretariat programmes@cpahq.org
Avni Kondhia
Programme Manager - CPwD and Youth Coordinator (Secondment)
CPA Headquarters Secretariat programmes@cpahq.org