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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

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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.

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.

Three Countries, Three Viewpoints on Election Access

agenda-conference-plenary1-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.

Director of Governance Policy and Senior Specialist in the Governance and Social Development (GSD) branch of Australian Aid Michael Bergman came to the table with extensive experience working in countries in the Pacific. Chairman of the Alyansa Ng May Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP –PINOY) Manuel Agcoili has both a business background and a wealth of experience working in the nonprofit sector. Tika Dahal, the secretary general of the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN), is an experienced social worker who has been working to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Nepal for close to two decades. All three panelists offered insights into how countries can improve access to the political process for persons with disabilities.

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

Political participation of persons with disabilities in elections was highlighted during the second day of the conference. Participants discussed how to incorporate considerations for disability inclusion into Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) communities and systems.

conference-makmur-sanusiDuring his plenary session, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Social Affairs of Indonesia Makmur Sunusi stressed the importance of raising awareness. He noted political participation is rarely addressed within ASEAN Communities and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) – and is not even mentioned in the seven priorities laid out in the ASEAN Decades of Persons with Disabilities.

Another approach Sunusi suggested is establishing working groups that focus on these issues. With a group, stakeholders can share concerns, opinions and experiences. Sunusi added that these working groups do not yet exist within the region.

Yusdiana, program manager for the Indonesian Disabled People Association (PPCI), shared strategies communities can use to increase participation of persons with disabilities. Those strategies include mapping capacities, creating capacity-building activities, increasing advocacy efforts of persons with disabilities and looking for opportunities to send proposals to relevant organizations and institutions.

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Organization Profile: International Foundation for Electoral Systems Indonesia

ifes-worldwideIFES 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.

History of IFES in Indonesia

Since 1998, IFES has provided technical assistance to support Indonesia’s civil society and democratic institutions. Emerging from over three decades of “New Order” authoritarian rule in 1998, Indonesia entered an era of bold reform characterized by democratic institution building and decentralization of governance. Not without challenges and setbacks, this program of Reformasi has proven largely successful. Indonesia is seen today as a vibrant regional example of democracy working to achieve political stability in a nation of varied culture, religion, politics, and regional identities.

Much of IFES’ assistance has focused on supportingIfes-indonesia-image1 Indonesia’s General Elections Commission (KPU) in efforts to improve electoral management and operations. Over the last three national election cycles IFES provided international support to legal and regulatory drafting, electoral system design, results reporting and seat allocation, electoral boundary delimitation, electoral dispute resolution, voter registration, poll worker training material, voter education and public information. IFES programs have often reached beyond the KPU to involve the Constitutional Court, the Indonesian Legislature, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and KPU provincial and regency/municipality (kabupaten/kota) offices. IFES has also supported civil society initiatives in civic and voter education, elections violence monitorinIfes-indonesia-image2g, disability access, women’s representation, money and politics, and electoral reform.

One of IFES current initiatives has also launched a regional effort to support electoral access for persons with disabilities with local partners in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia.

This network is led by Indonesian civil society partners. New and enhanced methodologies for monitoring disability access will include regional indices and reports to regional bodies. Findings from monitoring missions are shared with CSOs in several ASEAN member states. IFES fosters a dialogue to share best practices in disability access, and build new partnerships between DPOs and election CSOs to advocate for the electoral rights of persons with disabilities.

The activities of IFES Indonesia are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and by the Australian Government.

AGENDA Newsletter - 3rd Edition

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3rd Edition

Featured News

History of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesHistory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), commonly referred to as “the Disability Convention”, is a unique human rights instrument that serves as both a development tool and a human rights instrument. Also, it is a legally binding policy instrument which is cross-disability and cross sector. The purpose of Disability Convention, as stated in Article 1, is to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” The Convention stipulates aspects and sectors related to disability rights and how to adopt the principles into the legislations and program actions. Hence, every state that has ratified the CRPD should adopt the Convention into its national and local legislation. The Convention is followed by the optional protocol to implement the convention strategically in the States parties. The Optional Protocol is also an international treaty.

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Highlight

AGENDA Puts Training Module

Agenda Put its Training Module to Test

On 17-18 October 2012, AGENDA organized a tryout for the training module on accessible election that is intended to train Election Management Bodies officers in Southeast Asia countries. The purpose of the tryout is to test whether the training package is already suitable for the targeted audience. The event took place in Cisarua, a city lies about 100 kilometers from Jakarta. There were 20 participants invited, consisting of the commissionaires of KPU Jakarta, Bawaslu (national bureau of election monitoring), Panwaslu (the election monitoring body at provincial level), and PPK (district election committee). Participants are expected to give inputs on the training materials, teaching methods, presentations, games, role play, facilitators, and logistics.

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Organization Profile

jppr-logo

People’s Voter Education Network (Jaringan Pendidikan Pemilih Rakyat, JPPR)

People’s Voter Education Network (JPPR) is a network of 38 institutions consisting of social organizations under Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah, NGOs, educational institutions, interfaith institutions, student institutions, and radio channels.Members of JPPR work at the national and provincial level, Regency/City, District, up to Village.

The vision of JPPR is to realize an Indonesian society that is aware, knowledgeable, and active in building people’s sovereignty. Since its founding in 1998, JPPR has actively promoted democratic education for Indonesian people, mainly by observing the conduct of General and local elections in Indonesia.

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Interview

Nguyen Hong Ha: A Story of Determination

"Even if a mountain is high, there is always a way to reach the top -- and although the way might be full of danger, there is always a way for someone to get through it. (Vietnamese Proverb)"

The proverb above may be the best one to describe Nguyen Hong Ha -- a Vietnamese woman, a human rights activist. When her mother learned Hong Hahn had polio, she knew that life would become difficult. “It was the most serious case,” Ha’s mother said. It resulted in her using a wheelchair now.

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On The Horizon

View Full Calender

Sat Nov 10-11, 2012
2nd Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Partners Coordination Meeting
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Workshop on training module for regional partners

Photo Gallery

AGENDA Newsletter 3rd Edition


Multimedia

  • Video - Testimonies of PwDs. Click here

  • Blackboard Collaborate for AGENDA Conference on 10-11 November 2012. For more information click here

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