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The AGENDA 2012 Annual Conference "Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities" on 1-2 February in Jakarta

Written by agendaasia.org

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As the first regional dialogue held after ASEAN’s historic Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, the event highlighted important regional processes underway that might further the rights of persons with disabilities, such as the ongoing drafting of an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the formulation of the new ASEAN Decade for Persons with Disabilities (2011-2020). Stakeholders discussed developing frameworks for action in both the ASEAN Social Cultural Community and the ASEAN Political Security Community. These discussions highlighted the importance of DPO-led advocacy and research initiatives to ensure disability rights are cross-cutting within ASEAN and increasingly addressed by the region’s new human rights architecture.

Speakers included the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Indonesia’s representative on the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights of the U.S. Department of State,  the Coordinator for the Office of Disability and Inclusive Development of USAID, the Director of ASEAN Political and Security Cooperation of the image conference news the agenda 2012Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, the Deputy Chief Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, several election commissioners from the region, DPO leaders, electoral experts, officials from several involved state ministries, United Nations human rights officers, lawyers, academics and civil society representatives.

The two day dialogue also served as a practical platform to share common challenges and innovations in the area of election accessibility among stakeholders, governments and regional organizations. 50 speakers from around the globe shared their experiences identifying barriers and taking action to improve elections access for persons with disabilities. AGENDA staff presented their own efforts to develop and test new disability access monitoring tools in close collaboration with Indonesia’s election management body, the KPU.

The regional dialogue was broadcast in real time on the internet in partnership with the Institute on Disability and Public Policy of American University (IDPP), opening the participation to virtual panelists and audiences worldwide. During the final day of the dialogue, AGENDA launched its new website which will continue several of the dialogue discussions on line, as well as serve as a new internet resource for data and analysis on access to elections for people with disabilities in ASEAN.

AGENDA is funded by USAID as part of the IKAT – US “Civil Societies Innovating Together” initiative. The project pairs two of Indonesia’s leading DPOs, The Indonesia Disabled People’s Association (Persatuan Penyandang Cacat Indonesia / PPCI) and The Center for Election Access for Citizens with Disabilities (Pusat Pemilihan Umum Akses Penyandang Cacat / PPUA Penca) with Indonesia’s largest election monitoring and voter education network,  The People’s Voter Education Network (Jaringan Pendidikan Pemilih untuk Rakyat / JPPR). With technical support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the AGENDA project is producing new tools for monitoring election accessibility in Southeast Asia, as well as new regional approaches to research, dialogue and advocacy on the pressing human rights issue of equal political rights for persons with disabilities.




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