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Jakarta Election Committee Guarantees An Accessible Election

ketua-kpu-jakarta-jamin-pemilukada-juli-2012-aksesibel-image.By: Dipo Djungdjungan Siahaan, IFES

KPU Jakarta (Jakarta Election Committee) guarantees an accessible election for persons with disabilities in the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election. Sumarno, a member of KPU Jakarta, conveyed this message on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 last week, when AGENDA visited KPU Jakarta office to discuss about accessible election for persons with disabilities.

Sumarno reiterates the importance of accessibility for persons with disabilities for the next election. He says that KPU Jakarta had managed to hold a relatively accessible election in the last Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2007, and he does not intend to lower that standard for the next one. KPU Jakarta has allocated special budget for this purpose, which will be used for, among others, producing helping aid for voters with visual impairment, and also to produce voter educational materials specifically aimed for persons with hearing and visual impairment.

KPU Jakarta also plan to hold socialization events for persons with disabilities. Mastiur, the Head of Technical, Legal and Public Relations Department announces that her division has allocated budget to hold 3 socialization activities for this purpose. She asks AGENDA to help her getting participants for these events. She says AGENDA can send up to 100 participants for each socialization event.

AGENDA welcomes the invitation. Yusidana, Programme Manager from PPCI, says that she hopes that Jakarta election this July will set a good standard for other Southeast Asian Countries to follow.

Workshop Raises Awareness of Election Accessibility in Cambodia

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By: Yusdiana, PPCI

Cambodian Disabled People Organization held a workshop on March 27 at the Imperial Hotel, Phnom Penh, to review the accessibility of the country’s election. In addition to the organization members that hailed from the provinces, the workshop was attended by representatives from the National Election Committee (NEC), Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia (NICFEC), the Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia (COMFREL), as well as UNDP and IFES Cambodia.

The one day workshop was officially opened with a speech from NEC Under Secretary General Sokolak Tipor which highlighted measures that had been taken by the committee to facilitate voters with disability. According to him, polling stations had been equipped with ramps to improve their accessibility, while assistants and tactile ballot were provided to assist the voters.  In the run-up to the commune election on June 3, the committee had also encouraged persons with disabilities to register as polling station attendants, a post that still offers a lot of openings.

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Volunteer Training Sheds Light on Disability Issues in Bangka Belitung

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By Riri Rafiani, PPUA Penca

On February 21-22, 2012 AGENDA held its fourth training of volunteers to help with the monitoring of regional election in Bangka Belitung. As in the previous three trainings, 30 volunteers were recruited; half of them were persons with disability. They were recruited through People’s Voter Education Network in the area. Training sessions included not only techniques of election monitoring, but also disability issues, such as how to interact with persons with disabilities, what challenges they face in their day-to-day life, and the current situation of their political rights in Indonesia.

Some volunteers found this training helpful particularly because of the disability issues presented. “I’m interested because this training allows us to look into the needs of disabled persons,” said Effendi, a student of School of Islamic Studies in Pangkalpinang.

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I used to think that disabled persons do not have political rights.”

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Cambodian Observers: Indonesian Election Good, But Could be Better

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AGENDA team interviews a voter in Bangka Belitung election

By: Riri Rafiani, PPUA Penca

Three Cambodian observers joined AGENDA’s fourth election monitoring in Bangka Belitung, February 23, 2012. Ky Sophan, Huy Khy, and Pheng Pharozin from Cambodian Disabled Person’s Organisation (CDPO) flew from their country to learn about the election monitoring process. Prior to the activity, they received a briefing about how to conduct the monitoring and to fill out the checklist. On the D-day, they joined three separate groups and set out to different locations.

Afterward, the three Cambodian observers shared their findings with other AGENDA volunteers at the post-monitoring discussion held in Bangka Belitung. They said that in general they found the state of accessibility in Indonesia's election to be similar to that in Cambodia. “I think we share some similar issues with our friends here,” said Ky Sophan, referring to serious problems still faced by persons with disabilities, including difficulty in getting to polling stations as well as lack of facilities and support from the election officers. The situation has made persons with disabilities, especially those with mobility impairment, reluctant to go to polling station.

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Head of Election Monitoring Agency Admits to Poor Election Accessibility

image Head of Election Monitoring Agency Admits to Poor Election AccessibilityBy: Riri Rafiani, PPUA Penca

Head of Indonesian Election Monitoring Agency (Bawaslu) Bambang Eko Widodo admitted that election process in the country has not been completely disabled people-friendly. He expressed this statement at an audience with AGENDA team on ugust 11, 2011 at Bawaslu office.

To be honest, our monitoring of election with regards to voters with disability is incomplete,” he said. “[Efforts to facilitate them] have been limited to the template [to aid the visually impaired to vote] when there are so many other things we could do,” he added.

Election process in Indonesia, especially when it comes to voters with disability, still requires special attention. Inadequate consideration has been given to issues such as site selection for polling stations, rendering them difficult to access by wheelchair users and the elderly.

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