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AGENDA participated ih the 4th Asian Electoral Stakeholders Forum

On 27 – 28 August, the AGENDA Program Manager, along with Disabled People’s Organization (DPO) representatives from Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste, participated in the fourth Asian Electoral Stakeholders Forum (AESF IV) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The theme was “Advancing Election Transparency and Integrity: Promoting and Defending Democracy Together”. H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, was a keynote speaker. The AGENDA Program Manager was appointed as a moderator of “Democratic Inclusion of Vulnerable Populations.” This topic was part of the output of the conference, also known as the Colombo Pledge: to Promote and Defend Electoral Democracy in Asia.

AGENDA attended ASEAN Forum in Singapore

On 27 – 28 August, the AGENDA Disability Rights Advisor and Program Officer were nominated by the Indonesian Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to participate in the ASEAN Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Singapore. The event was organized by the Singaporean Representatives to the AICHR and the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). The forum aimed to increase knowledge and awareness of best practices among key women business leaders, agents of change, young female entrepreneurs and CSOs. AGENDA shared its views about the economic situations of women with disabilities in ASEAN and encouraged the forum to identify best practices and opportunities to collaborate and enhance the participation of women with disabilities in economic development. AGENDA also mentioned the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025, which is expected to be endorsed by ASEAN Leaders in November 2018.

Fulfillment of persons with psychosocial disabilities’ rights on election

On 24 August, Bawaslu facilitated a press conference at their media center on the right of persons with psycho social disabilities to participate in elections. AGENDA Disability Rights Advisor Tolhas Damanik was one of the speakers alongside the Chairman of Bawaslu, the Chairwoman of the Indonesian Mental Health Association and a representative from the Association of Clinical Mental Health Practitioners. Important points highlighted in the press conference were:

  1. During the local elections on 2017 and 2018, persons with psychosocial disabilities who lived in mental health institutions and hospitals were not able to vote because they were not registered by election officers;
  2. Having psychosocial disabilities does not incapacitate a person from making personal decisions or voting. Only a small number of persons with psychosocial disabilities become incapable to do so during specific, temporary periods of time due to experiencing peak levels of mental illness;
  3. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) guarantees the rights of persons with disabilities, including persons with psychosocial disabilities, to participate in politics and elections;
  4. Bawaslu offered their commitment to monitor the election process to ensure that persons with psychosocial disabilities will be registered in the voter list for the 2019 general election.

ASEAN DPOs attended 7th Meeting of Task Force

On 6 July, all participants of the DPO Coordination Meeting hosted by AGENDA on July 5, received the opportunity to attend the seventh Meeting of the Task Force on Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Community. During the meeting, the ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF laid out its recommendations for the Enabling Master Plan to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

Public consultation and Indonesian representative to AICHR accountability report

On July 12, AGENDA attended a Public Consultation on International and Regional Advancement and the Protection of Human Rights as well as the Socialization of Election Processes of Indonesia Representatives to the AICHR 2019-2021 hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta.Indonesian representative to AICHR, Dinna Wisnu, in the meeting shared her approaches and challenges while working in AICHR from 2016 to 2018.

Coordination Meeting DPOs in ASEAN

On 5 July, AGENDA organized a Coordination Meeting of Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs) with the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) in Jakarta leading up to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Task Force Meeting for the Enabling Master Plan on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Seven of the 10 ASEAN Member States participated in the day-long meeting (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam). Participants from Singapore and the chairperson of the ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) attended the opening session and provided a presentation on the ADF and their general recommendations to the ASEAN Enabling Master Plan. The meeting resulted in the decision to develop a position paper on the political participation and public life of persons with disabilities in ASEAN to be submitted to the AICHR.

Election Visit Program in 2018

From 26-27 June, representatives from AGENDA participated in the 2018 Election Visit Program (EVP) organized by the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) in Surabaya, East Java. The program’s main objectives were to share knowledge and information on Indonesia’s different elections and to observe the regional head elections in East Java. EMBs from six countries (Fiji, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt and Nepal) as well as representatives from another six countries (USA, Denmark, Spain, Sri Lanka, Australia and Germany) participated in the EVP 2018 program alongside and representatives from academia and local and international organizations. The program provided a general seminar on Indonesia’s elections to the observation program on June 26. Three main issues related to disability access were identified based on the observation of  four  polling stations in Surabaya City and Bangkalan Regency: (1) inaccurate information on the types of disabilities included in the Final Voter List; (2) poor design quality of the braille template used in the governor elections which rendered the braille font illegible, whereas the regency election’s braille template in Bangkalan was not properly folded when produced and was therefore unusable; and (3) paths to polling stations which were set up on uneven terrain, steps inside polling stations and ballot boxes that were too high for wheelchair users or little people. Despite the relatively festive settings, field visitors raised minor technical issues during observation, such as polling station workers verifying voters based on attendance lists rather than Fixed Voters Lists (DPT) or discrepancies between the total number of eligible voters in the printed versions on information boards and the online source launched by the KPU.

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