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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.

Election Studies Program in 2018

On 27 June, AGENDA and IFES coordinated with Bawaslu (Indonesia Election Supervisory Body)  to hold polling station visits to the 2018 Pilkada (local election) in five cities for international delegates and representatives as part of Bawaslu’s first-ever Election Studies Program. The program aimed to bring together members of election management bodies (EMBs) from 12 countries among other Maldives, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Egypt; representatives from 12 embassies such as Sweden, Canada, Germany and Denmark; election observation institutions, election practitioners and experts from different regions, and to serve as a platform for knowledge exchange among participants to identify potential problems. The program is also expected to foster opportunities for future cooperation in order to advance its mission of upholding democratic elections through electoral justice. The over 100 participants were divided into five groups in order to witness the voting and counting processes of the regional head elections in the cities of Serang, Tangerang, Bogor and Bekasi as well as the Bogor Regency.

NCBM launched a booklet on how to help people with disabilities

In mid-April 2018, National Council for the Blind Malaysia (NCBM), Malaysian AGENDA’s partner launched a booklet on how to help people with disabilities titled Panduan Memberi Sokongan dan Berinteraksi dengan Orang Kurang Upaya which would be used by the Election Commission officers during the general election. The initiative was funded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems through the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) project.

Here is the link to the news article: Click Here

Here is the link to the booklet “Panduan Memberi Sokongan dan Berinteraksi dengan Orang Kurang Upaya”: Click Here

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