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AGENDA Newsletter - 5th Edition

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5th Edition

Featured News

School of International and Public AffairsAGENDA and SIPA – Columbia University Collaboration

AGENDA collaborates with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to support regional research activities related to political participation for Persons with Disabilities.

Four second year Master’s degree students from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) will work with AGENDA in Indonesia and Lao People's Democratic Republic as part of their Workshop in Development Practice which last from November 2012 to May 2013. Through the workshop, student teams add value to the network’s current and future programs through focused desk reviews, field research and analysis, and practical recommendations. The workshop encourages students to explore the intersection of development concerns with human rights, corporate social responsibility, humanitarian affairs, conflict resolution, education, public health, gender, environmental policy, entrepreneurship and private sector development, and traditional and new media.

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Highlight

Cambodia Officially Ratified CRPDCambodia Officially Ratified CRPD

The United Nations has formally acknowledged the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability on 20 December 2012 by the Royal Government of Cambodia and entered it into the UN database. Cambodia had signed the Convention and its Optional Protocol on October 01st, 2007. On August 10th, 2012, National Assembly of Cambodia agreed to ratify the Convention. After the ratification, the CRPD entered into force on 19 January 2013. However, lack of budget may hinder full implementation of the convention after it came into force.

The ratification is a welcome news to all DPOs in the region. Mr. Ngin Saorath, CDPO’s (Cambodian Disabled People Organization) Executive Director calls for the alignment of existing domestic laws and regulation with the CRPD. He hopes this will be one of many steps the government will take to fully realize the rights of persons with disabilities in Cambodia. CDPO is also one of the regional partners of AGENDA.

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Organization Profile

LDPA Logo

Organization Profile: The Laos Disabled People’s Association (LDPA)

The Laos Disabled People’s Association (LDPA) is a civil society organisation and the sole Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) that encompasses all people with disability in Laos. The LDPA is recognised as the nation’s leading DPO, and serves an important role as the peak advocacy body for people with disability.

The LDPA was recognised as an Association on July 20th 2001 under Article 44 of the Laos Constitution. On September 13th 2011 the LDPA was registered as an Association as per the Decree on Associations, as administered by the Public Administration and Civil Service Authority (PACSA).

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Interview

Alison Hamburg and Samir Asraf with LDPAVisiting Students Assist LDPA

Samir Ashraf and Alison Hamburg were in Vientianne, Lao, to volunteer with one of AGENDA’s Partners LDPA (Lao Disabled People’s Association) for two weeks, from 7 to 21 January 2013. Their visit is part of the arrangement between AGENDA and School of Interational Public Affairs of the Columbia University, New York, United States of America.

Samir Ashraf

My involvement with the AGENDA project began two months ago as part of a Columbia University team that is tasked with assessing the capacity of partner disability organizations (DPOs). Initially, I knew the scope of my team's project and the goals of AGENDA, but had little grasp of the nature of partner DPOs outside of anecdotal information and completed AGENDA country reports. Thus, when I learned that I would travel to Lao PDR to work with the Lao Disabled People's Association (LDPA) I was excited at the opportunity and curious about what I would experience.

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On The Horizon

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Sun, 3 Feb 2013
Tailoring Workshop

Photo Gallery

AGENDA Newsletter 5th Edition

Multimedia

  • Video - Timor-Leste certifies persons with disabilities as election observers. Click here.

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AGENDA and SIPA – Columbia University Collaboration

AGENDA collaborates with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to support regional research activities related to political participation for Persons with Disabilities.

Four second year Master’s degree students from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) will work with AGENDA in Indonesia and Lao People's Democratic Republic as part of their Workshop in Development Practice which last from November 2012 to May 2013. Through the workshop, student teams add value to the network’s current and future programs through focused desk reviews, field research and analysis, and practical recommendations. The workshop encourages students to explore the intersection of development concerns with human rights, corporate social responsibility, humanitarian affairs, conflict resolution, education, public health, gender, environmental policy, entrepreneurship and private sector development, and traditional and new media.

A main component of AGENDA is to develop new regional partnerships for improved data collection through research. Data from these activities will be used to produce a regional index which will help persons with disabilities and election administrators identify priorities for reform and set targets for improved accessibility.

In January 2013, Alison Hamburg and Samir Ashraf, visited Laos for two weeks to assist the Lao Disabled People Association (LDPA), AGENDA’s partner in Laos, in compiling its research report on election access for persons with disabilities. Christopher Wooley and Dennis Jitae Kim, will visit Indonesia in March for two weeks to work with the research team on the compilation of the regional research report on election access for persons with disability in Southeast Asia. The visits are part of the six-month collaboration between AGENDA and the School of International and Public Affairs in the research on political participation and capacity assessment of AGENDA and its regional partner organizations in seven countries.

The edition of the current newsletter will feature two short articles from Alison and Samir on their experiences in volunteering with LDPA.

christopher-wooleyalison-hamburgSamir AshrafDennis Jitae Kim

Bali Commitments on Equal Access to Elections

The participants in the General Election Network for Disability Access’ (AGENDA) 2nd Regional Dialogue, held in Bali, Indonesia on November 10-11, 2012 adopted the Bali Commitments.

We, members of election management bodies, disabled people’s and civil society organizations, international organizations and institutions, and representatives from academia, recognize that persons with disabilities are frequently excluded from the political lives of their countries and commit to take steps to make the electoral process more inclusive and accessible.

We reaffirm the rights and principles proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We demand the right to participate in free, fair and accessible elections and vote by secret ballot. This right applies equally to all citizens, including those with physical, sensory, intellectual or psychosocial disabilities.

We recognize that each country in Southeast Asia experiences unique barriers. We reiterate the commitment made by ASEAN member states in Article 7 of the Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of the Persons with Disabilities in ASEAN Community.

We each resolve to eliminate all forms of discrimination towards the full and equal political participation of persons with disabilities. Acknowledging these obligations, we hereby agree to work together to ensure persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to:

  1. Secure national identification cards and register to vote*
  2. Equal recognition in the election law
  3. Receive civic and voter education and political party platforms in accessible formats, such as sign language, Braille, audio, large print, pictorial and easy-to-read
  4. Reasonable accommodations such as assistance in the voting booth, tactile ballot guides, low voting booths, magnifying glasses and large grip pens
  5. Accessible infrastructure such as ramps and building layouts that allow for easy maneuver by those who use assistive devices
  6. Counting and announcement of election results in accessible formats
  7. File a complaint and participate in the dispute resolution process
  8. Serve in leadership roles such as candidates, election management body officials, poll workers and observers

We will return to our countries and share experiences and outcomes of this conference with our governments, disabled persons’ organizations, civil society, the media and other stakeholders. We confirm our desire to continue to collaborate and share best practices and lessons learned with each other.

*Participants encourage EMBs to collect information on type of disability during the registration process.

AGENDA Newsletter - 4th Edition

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4th Edition

Featured News

AGENDA Conference Promotes Equal Access for Persons With Disabilities in ElectionsAGENDA Conference Promotes Equal Access for Persons With Disabilities in Elections

November 10-11 in Nusa Dua, Bali, AGENDA held the Second Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities, bearing the theme “Strengthening Democracy, Removing Barriers: Toward Full Participation of Persons With Disabilities in Elections.”

The two-day conference brought together hundreds of participants, including representatives from disabled persons organizations; election management and monitoring bodies, members of parliament, human rights commissions, academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, governments and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) bodies to discuss and share policies and best practices for securing the right of persons with disabilities in elections throughout Southeast Asia.

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Drafting of Bali Commitments

Participants of the AGENDA Second Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities, held this November, adopted the Bali Commitments at the close of the two-day event. These commitments reaffirm the international frameworks on human rights – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – as the legal basis for the fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities.

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Highlight

Three Countries, Three Viewpoints on Election Access

Three Countries, Three Viewpoints on Election Access

When it comes to improving election accessibility for persons with disabilities, different countries have different experiences. Sharing experiences and lessons learned between different countries is crucial because it enables people working in the disability field to find inspiration and creative ideas that may be applicable to their own countries, thus encouraging improvement and progress.

On the first day of the Second Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities, three presenters shared experiences from very different backgrounds.

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Andrew Sisson

Day Two of Conference Covers Political Participation of Persons with Disabilities through Regional Engagement

When it comes to improving election accessibility for persons with disabilities, different countries have different experiences. Sharing experiences and lessons learned between different countries is crucial because it enables people working in the disability field to find inspiration and creative ideas that may be applicable to their own countries, thus encouraging improvement and progress.

On the first day of the Second Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities, three presenters shared experiences from very different backgrounds.

Read More

Organization Profile

ifes-logo

International Foundation for Electoral Systems Indonesia

IFES Worldwide
As the global leader in democracy promotion, IFES advances good governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 135 countries, from developing democracies to mature democracies.

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Interview

annie-juwariyahAnnie Juwariyah: Affirmative Action for Persons with Disabilities

It is not easy for somebody with a disability in Indonesia to become a politician. When the late Gus Dur was nominated for the presidency, which he eventually won, many opponents tried to block the nomination because Gus Dur was blind. Many believed being blind made him unfit to rule.

The debate over Gus Dur’s disability opened the eyes of many Indonesians to the issues of the political rights of persons with disabilities, and paved the way for improvements in election laws and regulations in Indonesia. These improvements made it possible for persons with disabilities to participate in elections not only as voters, but also as candidates.

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On The Horizon

View Full Calender

Sat Jan 5-6, 2013
Pre-Election Technical Assessment Workshop
Late Jan, 2013
Checklist Tailoring Workshop
 

Photo Gallery

AGENDA Newsletter 4rd Edition

Multimedia

  • Video - Presentation of Pak Rafendi Djamin on AGENDA 2nd Regional Dialogue, 10-11 Nov 2012. Click here

  • Download Pdf - Bali Commitments on Equal Access to Elections. Click here

AGENDAasia.org | Home | About us

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Drafting of Bali Commitments

Participants of the AGENDA Second Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities, held this November, adopted the Bali Commitments at the close of the two-day event. These commitments reaffirm the international frameworks on human rights – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) –  as the legal basis for the fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities. 

Conference participants were aware that persons with disabilities still face barriers in exercising their rights in the electoral process. Often information related to elections – such as information on voting procedures – is not available in an accessible format. Persons with disabilities vote with limited knowledge when they go to polling stations. This means they might vote for candidates without the opportunity to fully understand their platforms, or they might not fully understand their own rights when voting.

The Bali Commitments will also bring attention to another important issue discussed at the conference – voter registration. In some countries, persons with disabilities are denied ID cards by their governments. The government assumes persons with disabilities do not need IDs because they do not travel or engage in activities that require such documents. This causes difficulties when persons with disabilities attempt to register to vote in elections, as ID card possession is often one of the requirements for registration.

Some debate whether information on each voter’s disability should be included in the voter list since, most of the time, ID cards do not include such details. Conference participants discussed the demand for voter lists to have voters’ disability info. They see it as a practical way for electoral management bodies (EMBs) to provide the necessary logistics for an accessible election. This has been proven in the Philippines, where the Commission on Election (COMELEC) – after a series of discussions with the disability community – listed voters’ disabilities in the voter list. This helped COMELEC to know how voters with disabilities were in each area and the types of disabilities they had. Access to this information helped the commission prepare the necessary logistics, such as ramps, tactile ballots and election-related information in accessible format.

In the commitments, participants pledged to work together for equal opportunities to:

  1.  Secure national identification cards and register to vote* 
  2. Obtain equal recognition in the election law
  3. Receive  civic  and  voter  education  and political party platforms  in  accessible formats,  such as sign language and Braille, as well as audio, large print, pictorial and easy-to-read formats
  4. Develop reasonable accommodations in polling places, such  as  assistance in the voting booth,  tactile ballot  guides,  low voting booths, magnifying glasses and large-grip pens
  5. Build accessible  infrastructure, such as ramps, and building  layouts that allow for easy maneuvering by those who use assistive devices
  6. Conduct counting and announcement of election results in accessible formats
  7. File complaints where necessary and participate in the dispute resolution process
  8. Serve in leadership roles, including as candidates, election  management body officials, poll workers and observers

*Participants encourage EMBs to collect information on type of disability during the registration process.

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