South-East Asia Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities

South-East Asia Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities

Participants of the South-East Asia Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities

From 1 to 2 February, the Regional Office participated in the “Regional Dialogue on Access to Elections for Persons with Disabilities” organised in Jakarta, Indonesia. The dialogue was the first major activity of a two-year AGENDA programme funded by USAID, which is seeking to develop the regional network of disability groups in South-East Asia through the sharing of best practices and research. The programme is advocating for increased attention to be paid to disability issues within ASEAN, particularly within the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), as well as for ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The dialogue was attended by over 100 persons with disabilities (PWDs) from Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Timor Leste, Brunei and Vietnam. Discussion sessions during the dialogue included rights-based strategies and how to involve persons with disabilities in all aspects and stages of development, consideration of the implementation of article 29 of the CRPD in the region, voter education, electoral laws and disability, engagement with the wider human rights community, the recently adopted ASEAN Bali Declaration on PWDs, the role of Election Monitoring Bodies, assistive technology to promote accessible elections, and the collection and use of disability data for elections. There was also a mock voting session, where participants experienced what it was like for a PWD to vote in disability “friendly” and “unfriendly” voting stations.

 

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