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The Regional Conference on Access to Elections for Persons with Dis­abilities was opened at the Pullman Hotel, Jakarta, on February 1, 2012.The event was organized by the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) with enhancing the participation of persons with disabilities in elections in mind.

The event began with a speech from the Head of Program Develop­ment and the Partnership Associa­tion of Disable Persons in Indonesia (PPCI) Maulani Agustiah Rotinsulu. Approximately 150 participants from Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar, Vietnames, Philippines, Laos, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Bru­nei, Malaysia and various interna­tional organizations turned out for the event.

‚ÄúIt is very important to give more attention to persons with disabili¬≠ties to participate in accessing the elections in South East Asia,‚ÄĚ Rotin¬≠sulu said. ‚ÄúThis dialogue is essential so we can work together and learn from each other.‚ÄĚ

The event was officially opened by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Wardana and Chairman of the Central Election Disabled Access / PPUA PENCA Ariyani Soekanwo.

Wardana said that there are three declarations related to the rights of persons with disabilities: the Jakarta Declaration, the Declara­tion of Election Forum and the Bali Declaration, which is the strongest declaration of its type.

‚ÄúEncouragement should be offered by many in social, cultural, eco¬≠nomic and political aspects. Spe¬≠cial attention on politics based on article 29 relating to the CRPD has governed the accessible election and voting rights for persons with disabili¬≠ties,‚ÄĚ Wardana said.

ASEAN countries that have ratified the provisions concerning persons with disabilities can learn and share the implementation of accessible elec­tions for persons with disabilities. Some obstacles include lack of access to information about elections, voting locations that cannot be reached and lack of resources and capacity build­ing for the persons with disabilities.

ASEAN countries will also formulate recommendations to the ASEAN Inter­governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) with related parties with respect to the election in their respective countries. It should be a shared commitment of ASEAN coun­tries to promote the participation of persons with disabilities through po­litical participation so that their social, economic, cultural and educational rights will also be fulfilled.

The active role of government is needed for persons with disabilities to become a more integrated part of society.

Persons with disabilities make up about 15 percent of the population and have the same rights as other members of society, making this con­ference so important.

This news is produced by Diffa, the first and only magazine focusing on disability issues.diffa logo

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