Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum message
to delegates at CHOGM, Kigali 2022

CDPF understands that disability is socially created as disabled people have physical, mental, sensory and psycho-social and other long term impairments that in interaction with attitudinal, environmental and organisational barriers disable them.

Our priority is to get sufficient funding for DPOs/OPDs to function. We need to represent the views and voices of the diversity of disabled people to their Governments across the Commonwealth, in line with Article 4.3 and 33.3 of the Convention. It is the CDPF’s view, after a survey of our member organisations that DPOs need long-term core funding and that the Governments who have ratified the Convention represented at CHOGM should be providing and not relying on NGO and International Doners to fund them, with largely project based funding. To make progress with implementing Disability Rights and the UNCRPD, DPOs/OPDs need long-term core support to function and develop the democratic structures and build capacity for disabled people to work with their Governments to bring this about. Governments must consider allocating a small proportion of their National Income for this purpose.

COVID has taught us all how inadequate our public health arrangements are, but it has disproportionately impacted on disabled people. The inadequacies of Government responses are in many areas of the Convention. Inadequacies of Welfare Support (Article 28), Work (Article 27), Health (Article 25), Education (Article 24) Emergencies (Article 11), The Right to Life (Article 10) and failures in Accessible messaging (Article 9) and overall a lack of equality in response (Article 5). Countries reverted to a ‘Medical Model‘ approach, viewing us as ‘vulnerable’ rather than ‘at greater risk’, which can be planned for and minimised. We CDPF call on all State Parties present at GHOGM to re-double their efforts to include disabled people in all parts of their societies, by seriously moving forward with implementing the UNCRPD.

The looming global climate crisis requires us all to redouble our efforts, seizing every opportunity to reverse Global Warming, while at the same time ensuring we have effective and fully tested disability friendly disaster emergency procedures in place. Our by word remains Nothing About Us Without Us. We call on all of you to make sure this happens.