MEMORANDUM, Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference 2007

Posted on 22 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Commonwealth Nations, Events and Conferences, Guest Blogger, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference met in early November in Kampala, Uganda. The following memorandum was issued at that conference.

Dear Colleagues,

It’s my pleasure to forward to you a memorandum of decisions made at the recently concluded Commonwealth Disabled peoples’ Conference. Attached to this memorandum is a shorter memorandum which was prepared specifically for sending to CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting).

I hope these documents will enable those who are in a position to lobby their respective delegations to CHOGM to raise disability issues during the meeting.

Yours Sincerely,

James Mwandha.




The Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Conference convened in Kampala, Uganda from the 4th -7th November 2007;

NOTING with appreciation the theme of this year’s CHOGM, ‘Transforming Commonwealth Societies to achieve political, economic and human development.’

AWARE that Persons with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor and the most socially excluded,

RECOGNISING the diversity of Persons with Disabilities,

EMPHASISING the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,

NOTING the adoption by the 61st UN General Assembly of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

APPRECIATING that India and Jamaica have already ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

RECOGNISING the importance of International cooperation for improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in every country particularly in developing countries,

The Conference hereby resolves as follows:


1. Appreciates the Government of Uganda for hosting the Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Conference and in particular the support given by Honourable Sayda Bbumba, Minister of, Gender, Labour and Social Development and Honourable Sulaiman Madada, Minister of State for Disability and Elderly Affairs.

2. Thanks to the Right Honourable Rebecca Kadaga, Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament for officiating at the opening of the Conference and Honourable Okello Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Relations for performing the closing ceremony and offering to submit the conference memorandum to the Ugandan Head of State.

3. Commends the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Government for sending a representative to the conference as an observer.

4. Commends further the Uganda disability movement for the initiative taken to hold this first ever conference of Disabled People in the Commonwealth and the excellent arrangements and the hospitality accorded to the delegates.

5. Appreciates the resource persons for the excellent presentations made at the Conference and at the side events.

6. Notes with appreciation the countries that sent delegates to the conference namely: Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, and observers from Rwanda and Sudan.

7. Recognises the participation of the President of the World Blind Union, the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, the East African Federation of the Disabled, the representative of the President of the World Federation of the Deaf, representatives of Leonard Cheshire Foundation International, and the office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.


8. Submits a short memorandum, appearing as annexture 1 to this memorandum, to CHOGM through the Uganda Minister of State for International Relations.

9. Circulates the short memorandum to as many disabled people and their organisations in the Commonwealth as possible and call upon them to use it to lobby their respective delegations to advocate for disability issues in CHOGM.


10. Establishes the Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Forum with Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs) in the Commonwealth constituting its membership.

11. A steering committee consisting of Honourable James Mwandha (Uganda) Chair, Mr. Mark Harrison (UK), Mr. Thomas On’golo, Secretariat of the African Decade of Disabled Persons (South Africa), a representative from Canada and a representative from India.

12. The steering committee to draw up their terms of reference for the establishment of the forum and convene a forum meeting within a period of ten months.

13. The steering committee to dialogue with the Commonwealth Secretariat and register the forum with the Commonwealth Foundation.


14. Recommends that data collection at all levels should include disaggregated data concerning disability to enable Governments to plan effectively for the inclusion of disabled people.

15. Calls upon all governments to pass laws that promote equality and inclusion of disabled people in society and do away with laws that perpetuate discrimination and exclusion.

16. Appeals to Governments and donors to resource DPOs to publicize the convention, sensitize the general public and help to implement the Convention.


A. Governments.

17. Sign and ratify the Convention and enact laws to domesticate the convention and amend all laws, which negatively impact on disabled people.

18. Translate the Convention document into the local languages and Sign Language to facilitate wider understanding of the rights of disabled people.

19. Put in place programmes that create greater awareness in communities and within government systems relating to disability rights, and promote efforts that encourage positive attitudes towards disabled people.

20. Mainstream disability in social, economic and political programmes and provide for representation of disabled people in the Parliaments, Local Councils and Statutory organizations.

21. Provide access to rehabilitation, education, training, employment opportunities, cultural and sports activities, technical aids, Sign Language Interpretation Services and other assistive devices to facilitate mobility and independent daily living of disabled people.

22. Develop special programmes to cater for the special needs of women, children and the elderly with disabilities.

23. Strengthen DPOs and support creation of new ones, and promote representation of disabled people at local, national and international levels.

24. Include a disability component in all Government budgets and budgetary allocations across all sectors and in all local governments and also to give visibility to disability in all government plans, programmes and activities.

25. Build alliances with other countries, multilateral institutions and donor organizations to promote international cooperation in research, sharing information on best practices and funding for disability programmes.

26. Disability as a cross cutting issue should be mainstreamed and prioritized in all the development planning, implementation, and monitoring processes of governments as a means of achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs).

27. Governments should take special measures to protect persons with disabilities in all situations of conflicts, wars and catastrophes to alleviate the grave suffering caused to them.

B. Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs)

28. Lobby their Governments to sign and ratify the convention.

29. Once the convention enters into force, lobby Governments and Parliament to enact laws to domesticate it.

30. Ensure that disability issues are fully covered in the countries’ Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) where applicable.

31. Make alliances with other Civil Society organizations and create a common platform that includes disability concerns.

32. Advocate for budgetary allocations at national level across all sectors and at all local levels.

33. Participate actively in the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the convention at all levels.

34. Partner with the media for dissemination of the convention and other information relating to disability rights.


35. Monitoring is an important aspect of the process of realizing the rights of people with disabilities.

36. Governments should establish monitoring institutions that are well resourced and independent.

37. Monitoring institutions should have adequate and effective representation by different categories of people with disabilities.

38. The monitoring tools should be clear and shared with the key stakeholders.


39. Development partners should provide technical and financial assistance to DPOs to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

40. International Donors should ensure that people with disabilities are involved and benefiting from all bilateral and multilateral funded programmes.

41. Disabled people and disability issues must be included in every development cooperation agenda of international development partners.

42. The international development partners should promote south – south cooperation among DPOs and transfer resources directly to them.

43. International development cooperation/ partnership should promote capacity building and technology support on disability issues to national Governments in the south in line with the UN convention.

44. Development partners and donors should make funding conditional to addressing the concerns of disabled people and ensure that recipient countries of their development aid mainstream issues of disability in their plans and programmes.

45. Investors and service providers should take into account the needs of disabled people when designing their projects.

Dated this 7th day of November 2007



Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Conference
4th – 7th November 2007, Hotel Africana, Kampala, Uganda
Final Communiqué

This conference decides to send the following statement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government’s:

Resolution From the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference to the CHOGM 2007

NOTING with appreciation the theme of this years CHOGM,

AWARE that Persons with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor and the most socially excluded,

EMPHASING the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,

NOTING the adoption by the 61st UN General Assembly of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

APPRECIATING that India and Jamaica have already ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

RECOGNISING the diversity of Persons with Disabilities,

RECOGNISING FURTHER the importance of International cooperation for improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in every country particularly in developing countries,

Hereby recommends to the Commonwealth Heads of Government, meeting in Kampala from 23rd – 25th November 2007:

That all Commonwealth countries:

1. Ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and its Optional Protocol.

2. Adopt disability as a crosscutting issue that should be mainstreamed in domestic policy and planning.

3. Develop disability polices and programmes to cater for the concerns of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in line with article 32 of the UN Convention on International Development Cooperation.

Adopted at Kampala, this 7th day of November 2007

Thank you to James Mwandha at the Action on Disability and Development Uganda Programme (ADD Uganda) for granting permission to post this memorandum at We Can Do.

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2 Responses to “MEMORANDUM, Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference 2007”

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[…] ‘07 to add this paragraph: This conference is now over. The conference participants issued a memorandum which has been posted at […]

i have read with interest. iwould have liked mentioned the possibility of the disabled receiving disability benefits from their home country regardless of where they live in the commonwealth. eg. a disabled uk citizen living in trinidad should receive disability as those living in tht eastern european countries and swizerland, i would hope to have this issue discussed in the conference due to take place in trinidad on 27-29 nov.2009

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