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AGENDA Giving Presentation at GIZ Workshop for ASEAN Journalists

By: Dipo Djungdjungan Summa

On Tuesday, 19 September 2012, the AGENDA team gave a one-hour presentation at a workshop organized by GIZ (the German Agency for International Cooperation) for journalists from Southeast Asia. The workshop was attended by journalist from Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Timor Leste and Vietnam. AGENDA was invited by GIZ to present the project to the participants.

Agenda Giving Presentation at Giz Workshop for Asean Journalists

In addition to sharing information about AGENDA’s activities, the team also presented about the terminologies that should be used by media when covering news about disability and elections. Past findings from working with media have taught AGENDA that it is important that journalists are aware and understand about disability rights and use the correct terminology. AGENDA shared with the participants on the importance of using a rights-based model of disability and people’s first terminology in their reports and coverage.

The rights-based model of disability describes disability as a result of one’s interaction with the surrounding environment. On this model, disability results not only from the health condition of a person but arises from the person’s inability to participate fully as a member of a society because the existence of barriers, attitudinal and environmental, in the society.

“People’s first language” is a specific approach that should be used by the media, or other stakeholders, when talking about or to persons with disabilities. “People’s first language” requires the stakeholder to put the person first, not the disability (the disability is the adjective, not the noun). Labeling the person as their disability assumes their disability is their defining feature. Some examples of people’s first language are: “persons with disabilities” (instead of “handicapped”), “he uses wheelchair” (instead of “he is wheelchair bound”), and so on.

The AGENDA’s team expressed their hope that in the future media will put more emphasis in using “people’s first language” in their reporting. Also, no less important, AGENDA is hoping for the media to play an increased role in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. The media can increase the quality and quantity of news coverage related to persons with disabilities. By increased coverage, AGENDA hopes to improve the awareness of general public on the issue. Another role that the media can play is by providing information that can be accessible for persons with disabilities, especially for persons who have hearing or visual disabilities.

Cambodia National Assembly Agrees to Ratify UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

CDPO LogoPhnom Penh, Cambodia. On 10 August, 2012 the Cambodia National Assembly has agreed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol. The Cambodian government had signed the Convention since 1 October 2007. Many disabled people’s organizations in Cambodia had encouraged the government to ratify the Convention over the years. Therefore the news that the National Assembly finally agreed on the ratification of CRPD was greeted with delight by many disabled people’s organizations in Cambodia.

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is an international Instrument which aims to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities, and to promote and respect for their inherent dignity. The convention has been ratified by 119 countries, 79 of which have already ratified the Optional Protocol as well. In Southeast Asia, there are 6 countries that have ratified the Convention. When Cambodia finally officially ratifies the convention, it will be the first country in Southeast Asia that ratifies the Convention and its Optional Protocol.

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is an international Instrument which aims to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities, and to promote and respect for their inherent dignity. The convention has been ratified by 119 countries, 79 of which have already ratified the Optional Protocol as well. In Southeast Asia, there are 6 countries that have ratified the Convention. When Cambodia finally officially ratifies the convention, it will be the first country in Southeast Asia that ratifies the Convention and its Optional Protocol.

Mr. Bun Mao, the Executive Director of Association of Blind in Cambodia, also expressed his delight. He said that this will mean in the near future persons with disabilities in Cambodia will not only have the domestic laws on CRPD to protect their rights, but also the UNCRPD.

Miss. Song Kosal, a landmine survivor and activist from the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions , said that she is very happy and congratulated the National Assembly for its decision to accept UNCRPD ratification. She expressed her hope that in the future Cambodia will also sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Third Meeting of States Parties (3MSP) which will take place in Oslo, Norway, from 11th to 14th September 2012.

Mrs. Neang Phalla, the co-director of Education for Blind in Kroursa Thmey, welcomed the news and said that she is very delighted. She praised the Royal Government of Cambodia and said that this proves the government commitments towards persons with disability.

Mr. Benjamin, representing HI, congratulates the Royal Government of Cambodia for this monumental step forward in protecting the rights of all Cambodian citizens. He said that the decision means that Cambodia has joined an international community that is committed to the promotion of equality for all persons. He expressed eagerness to continue partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia. Through partnership and collaboration, he hopes that persons with disabilities will be able to enjoy full and equal participation in all aspects in the new Cambodian society.

From CDPO’s Media Release

AGENDA in Bangkok

agenda-in-bangkokOn 13 August 2012, Christian Dirk Donn, IFES AGENDA Program Manager, and Heppy Sebayang, PPUA PENCA AGENDA Program manager, visited Bangkok to give a presentation on AGENDA’s projects to the new batch of students of Institute of Disability and Public Policy (IDPP). The institute is a network of university and outreach partners focused on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and based at American University in Washington, DC. For more information on IDPP please check this link.

Christian and Heppy met and had a dynamic dialogue with the students, who were really interested on how AGENDA’s project has been progressing in a year. Check this article here for a full report of the whole event in IDPP website.

Please have a look at our pictures gallery to see pictures of Christian and Heppy’s presentation in Bangkok here. These pictures are credited to Lauren Bulke – COTELCO/IDPP.

In addition to giving presentation for IDPP students, Christian and Heppy also visited the UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission in Asia Pacific) office in Bangkok and met with Saowalak Thongkuay and 'Wansao Chaiyakul' from DPI-AP (Disabled People International Asia Pacific). Saowalak has been very supportive for AGENDA over the past year and advised the project on several matters.

Organization Profile: The Center for Election Access of Citizens with Disabilities (PPUA Penca)

The Center for Election Access of Citizens with Disabilities (Pusat Pemilihan Umum Akses Penyandang Cacat, PPUA Penca) was established in 2004, initiated due to the concern for the lack of attention,Dra. Ariyani Soekanwo speaking on a Voter Education Event for  the 2009 Indonesian Presidential ELection protection and equality for voters with disabilities. PPUA Penca’s mandate is to advocate for political rights for persons with disabilities in elections, especially for setting up facilities accessible to voters with impairments. Voter education and simulation exercises were conducted in five provinces for the 2004 elections, including special sessions for voters with hearing impairments. For the 2009 elections, PPUA Penca conducted voter education and simulation exercises for persons with disabilities in eight provinces. PPUA Penca was further entrusted by Indonesia’s General Election Commission (KPU) to design Braille templates and other tools for voters with visual impairments. In addition, PPUA Penca has proactively submitted recommendations to the KPU to address the political rights of persons with disabilities.

PPUA Penca has also actively advocated the Indonesian government on electoral policies PPUA Penca giving a radio talkshow in Pekanbaru, Indonesiato give attention to the political rights of persons with disabilities. They were actively involved in the drafting process of Law Number 10/2008 on General Election. In the last Jakarta gubernatorial election, PPUA Penca, in cooperation with the Jakarta Election Management Board, took active lead in conducting voter education events for persons with disabilities. Currently PPUA Penca is preparing a training manual on accessible election. This manual is to be used to train Election officials in the Southeast Asia region on how to organize an election that is accessible for persons with disabilities.

PPUA headquarter is in Jakarta. It is currently chaired by Dra. Ariani.

Findings Suggest Accessibility still an Issue in Jakarta Election

By: Dipo Djungdjungan Summa.

On July 11 2012, AGENDA conducted election monitoring during the Jakarta gubernatorial election. This was the sixth mission AGENDA has organized, following similar missions in four districts in Indonesia and in Cambodia during the commune election.

agenda-interviewing-voter-with-disability-in-the-gubernatorial-election

During this monitoring, 70 observers were deployed to a total of 92 polling stations across five districts in Jakarta. Observers also interviewed 167 voters with disabilities after they cast their vote. In addition to local observers, AGENDA invited international observers, including three from Malaysia and two from Cambodia.

Findings from this exercise suggest accessibility is still an issue in Jakarta. There are at least three areas that need improvement.

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