According to the World Health Organisation, roughly 15% of the world’s population has a disability, visible or otherwise, among whom up to 4% have significant difficulties in functioning. This figure is likely to rise with an aging global population and improved diagnostics becoming ever better placed to measure disability. Despite forming a significant percentage of the global community, persons with disabilities continue to be significantly underrepresented in public office and continue to face obstacles to being elected. Equally disturbing the UN Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights has found that persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities continue to be deprived of their right to vote. This is a clear contravention of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as a number of other international, regional and national human rights instruments.
Through the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network, the CPA has committed to not only recognising the vital contributions of persons with disabilities in parliaments across the Commonwealth, but also increasing and building off these contributions. This session will look to highlight the importance of drafting disability-sensitive legislation, improving the accessibility of our legislative institutions in both a physical manner and otherwise, and maintaining an informed and intelligent culture within the walls of Parliament. The webinar will also provide an opportunity to highlight the work undertaken to date by the CPwD network and the important work still to come.