Strengthening the partnership between CMEV and the Election Commission of Sri Lanka at the Action Plan launching ceremony in Diyathalawa

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CMEV has been proactively contributing towards the electoral process of Sri Lanka from the very outset. As a vital component of supporting the progressive steps taken with this regard by the newly established Elections Commission of Sri Lanka, CMEV facilitated the enrichment of knowledge and skills of the high level election staff officers through a comprehensive action plan that’s aimed at providing a series of important training sessions.

The said action plan prepared by CMEV to be mobilized in collaboration with the election commission of Sri Lanka was presented to the participants during the 2 day residential training programme on delimitation and electoral boundaries  held in Diyathalawa.

The most significant item of this event is the presentation of a special gift (a collection of cartoon portrayals published by all the national newspapers in all three languages during the Presidential and the General Election time period) about Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya. It was awarded by Dr. P. Saravanamuttu, the co-convener of CMEV and the executive director of CPA, to chairman of the Election Commission Mr.Mahinda Deshapriya in appreciation of his unwavering commitment and immense service rendered on behalf of the nation.

Dr. P. Saravanamuttu was also awarded with a token of appreciation by the chairman of the Election Commission for his constant support to the betterment of the electoral process in the country.

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Constitutional Reforms: March 4, 2016

The following submission is respectfully made to the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms, to be brought to the attention of the Constitutional Assembly, in promulgating a new Constitution for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

This submission has been initiated by a group of civil society organizations and individuals promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, including volunteers from the 2015 ‘Enabled Elections’ campaign and facilitated by the Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), who have been advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka and in particular their civil and political rights.  It has been developed from a draft that was discussed at a meeting convened by CMEV at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) on February 8 2016, with the support of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the Northern Province Consortium of the Differently Abled, and finalized with the feedback of numerous disability and human rights advocates in Sri Lanka, and circulated for endorsement.

Download the submission in all three languages below.

Tamil Version of the Disability Constitutional Reform

Sinhala Version of the Disability Constitutional Reform

English Version of the Disability Constitutional Reform

 

Strengthening the partnership between CMEV and the Election Commission

CMEV has been proactively contributing towards the electoral process of Sri Lanka from the very outset. As a vital component of supporting the progressive steps taken with this regard by the newly established Elections Commission of Sri Lanka, CMEV facilitated the enrichment of knowledge and skills of the high level election staff officers through a comprehensive action plan that’s aimed at providing a series of important training sessions.

The said action plan prepared by CMEV to be mobilized in collaboration with the election commission of Sri Lanka was presented to the participants during the 2 day residential training programme on delimitation and electoral boundaries held in Diyathalawa.

The most significant item of this event is the presentation of a special gift (a collection of cartoon portrayals published by all the national newspapers in all three languages during the Presidential and the General Election time period) about Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya. It was awarded by Dr. P. Saravanamuttu, the co-convener of CMEV and the executive director of CPA, to chairman of the Election Commission Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya in appreciation of his unwavering commitment and immense service rendered on behalf of the nation.

Dr. P. Saravanamuttu was also awarded with a token of appreciation by the chairman of the Election Commission for his constant support to the betterment of the electoral process in the country.

The photos taken at the event attached below.

Championing an Inclusive Electoral Process in Sri Lanka

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In February 2016, dozens of participants representing disability rights advocates, disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and other civil society groups convened in Colombo, Sri Lanka to discuss the rights of persons with disabilities in the electoral and constitutional reform process. Led by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), the meeting launched an effort to develop and submit language to the constitutional reform committee to ensure that these rights are incorporated into Sri Lanka’s legal framework. This marked the first ever initiative of its kind.

At the request of CMEV and DPOs, inclusion experts from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems(IFES) provided technical advice on international standards and best practices for ensuring rights of people with disabilities are recognized in a country’s legal framework, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The international standards, provided in Sinhala, Tamil and braille, informed the civil society initiative by helping to translate international best practices on inclusion to Sri Lanka’s ongoing electoral and constitutional reform process. Many of the proposed standards were integrated into the final constitutional submission. These included language prohibiting the use of ‘unsound mind’ as a justification for limiting a citizens’ right to vote and run for office; establishing an independent council to advise government stakeholders on the rights of persons with disabilities; creating an Access to Elected Office Fund to provide accessible transport, sign language interpreters or other enabling conditions for candidates with disabilities; and explicitly promoting the political rights of women with disabilities.

“I consider this submission of a proposal to include the voice of the persons with disabilities in the constitutional reforms as a major leap… It would enable all of us to engage with the decision making process of the country more proactively while advocating to secure our civil and political rights.”

T.J Rukmal, Co-founder and President of the  Enable Lanka Foundation

On March 4, 2016, following an inclusive consultative process, this informal network of disability advocates representing over 30 civil society and disabled people’s organizations delivered their newly-drafted disability rights’ language to Sri Lanka’s Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms. Through this and other efforts, IFES’ Improved Election Management Program continues to support USAID’s focus on advancing disability-inclusive development as part of a strengthened democratic process.


 

View the original article here.

Introduction of New Information System for the Election Commission of Sri Lanka

As a part of the annual training plan which is being implemented with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) is organizing a series of training workshops for the officials who are working under the election commission in various sections.

The main purpose of this workshop series is to conduct a number of activities related to the annual enumeration of electors and regarding certain tasks related to elections which are carried out using decentralised computer system in 25 district offices Island wide. With the intention of providing more efficient and effective services to the citizens (Electors and Voters) the new information system is introduced for the election commission of Sri Lanka.

The first awareness session of this series, is being held at the election secretariat, Rajagiriya at the moment.

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Experience Sharing Discussion Series on Electoral Process for Government Staff Officers

Experience Sharing Discussion Series on Electoral Process for Government  Staff Officers organised by CMEV in partnership with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka:

As a part of the annual training plan which is being implemented with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) is organizing a series of provincial level awareness sessions for all Staff Officers who are engaging with Election duties during Election time. The first awareness session was held  at Solis Hotel, Matara.

Chairman of the Election Commission, Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, Director General of the Election Commission, Mr. U. Amaradasa, Chief Secretary of Southern Provincial Council and All District Secretaries/Returning Officers of Matara, Galle and Hambantota districts are participating at the event.

This is a great platform to share the lessons learnt and plan out future Election activities and it is nice to see all key administrative officers sharing their experiences with members and Chairman of Election Commission.

CMEV especially provided an insight on the importance of facilitating voting rights of Persons With Disabilities.

Oral submission to Public Representative Committee (PRC)

Following the written submission made to the Public Representative Committee of Constitutional Reforms on the 29th of February by a group of civil society organizations and individuals including volunteers from the 2015 ‘Enabled Elections’ campaign and facilitated by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV),  an oral submission was presented before the said committee on the 4th of March from2:00 P. M. onwards at the office of the Public Representative Committee located in Visumpaya, Colombo 02.

The presentation was commenced by Mr. Manjula Gajanayake, the National coordinator of CMEV and was followed by Mr. Subramaniam, the president of Northern Provincial  Consortium of Differently Abled as well as the president of Orhan organization based in Vavuniya. Mr. Janith Rukmal, President and Co-founder of Enabled Lanka foundation summarized the contents of the written submission and highlighted the most essential points of interest to the committee while Ms. Nirosha from Trincomalee  and Mr. Kasunjith from Kalutara representing the persons with disabilities opined further on the significance of the submission.

Special emphasis was given to the fact that the oral submission being presented with the majority participation of the persons with disabilities.

The translations of this document in Sinhala and Tamil languages were also submitted to the committee with accessible Braille prints of it while updating the said submission with new signatories.
The insights for this submission was taken from the inputs received from an advocacy meeting convened by CMEV on the 8th of February with substantial participation of the communities consisting of the persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka.

While pledging to continue the advocacy for the civil and political rights and the broader inclusion of persons with disabilities in the electoral process in the future, CMEV wishes to thank every organization and individual who contributed in diverse ways to make this endeavor possible.
The official documents along with the Sinhala and Tamil translations of the written submission will be available on CMEV website shortly.

Several highlights of the occasion can be viewed in the photos below.