Some 42 participants from 14 Commonwealth countries will examine issues and challenges impacting on the prospects of persons with disabilities in benefiting from education and gaining employment.
The two-day meeting in London, UK, organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat, will begin on 10 January 2012.
Participants at the meeting will consider aspects of best practices that have been implemented by member countries, key challenges faced, and make recommendations to improve rights protection for persons with disabilities.
Karen McKenzie, Acting Head of Human Rights at the Secretariat, said: “This roundtable is timely since the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the most recent core international human rights treaty which has come into force. Almost four years into ratification by some of our member countries, this presents an opportunity to assess the challenges and consider the contribution which the Commonwealth Secretariat could make in assisting our members to improve aspects of accessibility, inclusion and sustainability for persons living with disabilities. The outcomes of our discussions will lead to the development of a best practice publication for member countries to improve implementation of the CRPD and empower persons with disabilities in order to realise their fullest potential.”
The CRPD came into force in 2008 and since then 27 Commonwealth member countries have ratified it. Articles 24 and 27 of the CRPD respectively deal with the promotion of inclusive education and ensuring sustainable employment for persons with disabilities. The Convention sets the standards requiring states to work for the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in their communities.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Shuaib Chalklen, will open the meeting, which will include representatives from UNICEF, the International Labour Organization, International Paralympics Committee, Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum, Commonwealth Youth Disabled People’s Forum, Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport, and Cricket 4 Change.
Practitioners from governments, national human rights protection mechanisms and civil society organisations from Australia, Barbados, Canada, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom and Zambia, will also attend.