Participation in political and public life

Whilst they make up a significant proportion of the global population, persons with disabilities have historically not been well represented in parliaments or political and public life.

Additionally, many persons with disabilities lack awareness about the political process and how to effectively influence it, to bring their concerns to the national agenda and to advocate more effectively for change.

Resources below include position papers and good practice examples of promoting participation by persons with disabilities in NGOs and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country, and in political parties.

See also: Participation of persons with disabilities.

World Health Organization and World Bank (2011) World report on disability (PDF 10.4 MB)

This publication includes a text box on page 171 on political participation and UNCRPD Article 29, including a brief case study on increasing electoral access in India.

Humanity & Inclusion (2010) Rights In Action: Good Practices for Inclusive Local Governance in West Africa (PDF 18.4 MB)

This publication details an initiative which took place in seven countries in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Benin) called ‘Rights in Action’, aimed at collecting good practices from multiple stakeholders on how to implement the UNCRPD. This initiative used the ‘Making it Work’ methodology. The subject of the project was Inclusive Local Governance, linking with Article 29 of the UNCRPD. The recommendations from the report will be used to develop a series of training and advocacy activities across the region.

Humanity & Inclusion Source: Key list resources on inclusive political participation (updated regularly)

This online resource presents information about the inclusive political participation of persons with disabilities. The resources featured include general information, regional and national case studies and news articles that highlight good practices or barriers to political rights.

There are no case studies available

Washington Group on Disability Statistics technical presentation

Jennifer H. Madans Ph.D., Associate Director for Science, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and Mitchell Loeb,
Health Scientist, NCHS from the secretariat of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics delivered a technical session
on how to use the Washington Group questions in monitoring data systems and how to disaggregate data by disability
followed by a question and answer session at the University of Melbourne on Thursday, 30 April 2015. The presentation
was organised by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Presentation from the Washington Group on Disability Statistics
A number of men and women from Vietnam, including a wheelchair user (third from the left) sit around a table participating in discussion, and watching a powerpoint presentation.

Photo: Nigel Kingston, 2013

In Thanh Hóa province, Vietnam, persons with disabilities attend consultations to discuss the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. 27 people including children, older people, men and women, with a range of impairments, discussed their expectations and aspirations for their futures, and the barriers they face. Themes emerging were employment, social protection, education, healthcare (including forced sterilisation), and the lack of implementation of national disability policies at a local level for the country’s estimated seven million persons with disabilities. Copyright: CBM