Two Day Training Workshop on the Role of Police in Elections

The two day training workshop titled ‘The role of Police Officers in Elections’ was held at Renuka City hotel Colombo 03, on 30th and 31st May 2017.

This workshop was organised by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in partnership with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the Election Branch of Sri Lanka Police. The curriculum of this programme was specifically designed for police officers involved in election process and included some important aspects of electoral process such as principles of election security, election observation and opportunities to mitigate electoral violence. Over 40 senior police officers attended this programme.

CMEV is organizing a series of training workshops for police officers who are engaged in election duties in partnership with Election Commission and Election Unit of the Sri Lanka Police.

Regional Dialogues: Limitations on campaign finance and disclosure of assets and liabilities

In addition to the contributions made by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in critical engagement with the election observation processes in Sri Lanka, it has simultaneously been contributing to the electoral reform process too in the country. As part of these overall functions; CMEV has initiated a series of discussions with the intention of enhancing an Island wide public discourse on “limitations on campaign finance and the disclosure of assets and liabilities”.

Imposing limitations on campaign finance and the disclosure of asserts are not merely isolated elements of the overall electoral process. They are obviously factors that play a pivotal and decisive role of any election. Additionally, these factors assist safeguarding the overall integrity of the electoral process while creating an equal playing field for all election candidates. While most of the countries across the globe have been effectively working in and around identifying and adopting appropriate approaches connected to restricting campaign finance; it is a welcoming situation in Sri Lanka having initiated a public discourse on the same matter during the recent past.

Therefore, contributing to the said initiative, Centre for Monitoring Violence (CMEV) organized a public discussion on the ‘campaign expenditure and on declarations of assets and liabilities’ at the Royal Nest Hotel, Polonnaruwa on 29th April 2017. The discussion was organized by CMEV in partnership with Transparency International Sri Lanka  and a number of civil society organizations along with candidates willing to contest upcoming Local Government election.

Mr. N.A. Dharmasiri, Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (retired) , Manjula  Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV and Hashanie Chitranganie, Researcher of CMEV were speakers at this event.

A guide on facilitation of voting rights for out-of-country voters

CMEV has taken a new initiative to identify and facilitate the voting rights of migrant workers in Sri Lanka that amounts to over two million persons. As one of the major contributing source to the national income through foreign revenue, the need to facilitate their inalienable right to participate in the political decision-making process has been recognized and addressed by a comprehensive document compiled with this regard. It encompasses the pertinent legal background and numerous methods utilized in other countries to avail out-of-country voters with facilities to exercise their right to vote.

Download the guide in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Guide document on Political rights and Representation of Persons with disabilities and the Electoral Process

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence is the first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of persons with disabilities with the auspices of  the Election Commission of Sri Lanka. CMEV has produced a comprehensive document combining the disability classification, rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka and  legal provisions to facilitate their political rights in line with the electoral process of Sri Lanka.

Download the document in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Consultation for Policy Brief on Political Rights of Persons with Disabilities- Sabaragamuwa Province Discussion

CMEV has been engaging in various initiatives of empowering disability organizations to achieve the rights related to voting and political representation of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka, with special emphasis to voting rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and to create an inclusive discourse with that regard, ensuring that the popular disability related slogan ‘’’Nothing about us without us’’ is given its true meaning. To this effect, CMEV has been conducting a series of programs aimed at the realization of political / voting rights of PwDs, in parallel with both National level Elections held in 2015 as well.
As a part of the newest chapter of the said initiatives, the fifth consultative discussion was held on the 30th January 2017 in partnership with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the FRIDSRO Sri Lanka. Key representatives of DPOs in Sabaragamuwa Province took part in this occasion.

The Additional Commissioner of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Mr. Saman Ratnayake, who has been appointed as the focal point to identify and resolve disability-related issues in the electoral process, also   attended this event as the main resource person, representing the Election Commission.  Mr.G.D.N.De Silva, Assistant Commissioner of Election Commission of Sri Lanka also participated in this event.  Hashanie Chithranganie and Janitha Rukmal, two Researchers of CMEV also addressed the gathering.  National Co-ordinator of CMEV Manjula Gajanayake was the facilitator of the event.

Video: Voters’ Day – 2016

The Election Commission celebrated Voters Day for the first time after they were established. The Chairman of the Election Commission insisted on the importance of an inclusive election and the strategies of the newly established Commission in getting the involvement of all marginalised groups in order to create an electoral process where no elector is to be left behind.

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

 

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.

Enabled Election Campaign: Pamphlets and info

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CMEV as one of  the prominent Sri Lankan election monitoring organizations that realized the importance of paying special attention to equality of access in elections pertaining to the democratization process, was able to co-convene the ”Enabled Election Campaign” in partnership with several other organizations as well as voluntary activists and experts, with the view to creating a conducive environment for all persons, focusing mostly on vulnerable and marginalized groups in the community prioritizing the persons living with disabilities in relation to the electoral process.

The island-wide campaign  which was conducted last year, by the name ‘Enabled Election’ in tandem with the general Election 2015 was facilitated by CMEV whilst bringing forth an impact that involved more active participation of the persons with disabilities in voting at the election.

The purpose of the campaign was to follow up on the circular number PE 164/2015 issued by the Commissioner of Elections in May 2015 advising all the Assistant Commissioners to ensure that ‘reasonable Access’ is provided for voters living with a disability. The said campaign also became an eye-opener for the general public and the responsible state institutions regarding the rights and entitlements of the persons with disabilities and the difficulties faced by the persons with disabilities in their participation at the elections and in politics overall.

The initiative was instrumental in engaging with independent disability Rights advocates, civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations with inclusive mandates and journalists in the process of outlining the strategy for the campaign.

The campaign focused on three (3) key areas:

  1. Invoking awareness among persons with disabilities on their rights, entitlements and responsibilities in exercising their civic duties
  2. Lobbying with mainstream political parties to recognize the concerns of the community of persons with disabilities.
  3. Lobbying with other election monitoring bodies including international observers to include disability in their election monitoring activities

Significant outcomes of the campaign were:  Drafting of a Manifesto to assert social, economic, political and cultural Rights of persons with disabilities and the task of presenting them to

  • The President of Sri Lanka and other political party leaders
  • A discussion with the Election Commissioner Mr Mahinda Deshapriya was held in order to follow up on the circular issued by the Elections Commissioner’s office in May 2015 to ensure that at Grama Niladhari level (village administrative division) persons with disabilities are informed about applying for special provisions to accessibility on elections day
  • Launching of social media campaign through Enabled Elections facebook page and twitter
  • Print media and electronic media features to communicate messages on the available provisions issued by the Elections Commissioner’s office to ensure persons with disabilities have ‘reasonable Access’ at polling stations
  • Formulating accessible information and education material (braille flyers) for persons with disabilities on their Right to vote, accessibility provisions they are entitled to at polling stations and how to lobby for same
  • Producing an informative video encouraging persons with disabilities, and their caregivers to ensure that their ‘voice is heard’ at the General Elections
  • Two awareness raising workshops (Southern Province and Eastern Province) for leaders of Disabled Peoples Organizations, persons with disabilities and caregivers on the available provisions through the Elections Commissioner’s circular, and informative session on ‘how to vote’ and extraction of recommendations/suggestions from participants to inform Enabled Elections’ follow up action after the General Elections

As a continuation of the same initiative with a brand-new and more concrete approach that opens a wider window of opportunity for many other persons living with disabilities as well as for various disability advocates in Sri Lanka, CMEV wishes to organize a series of consultative meetings in national and regional levels with the guidance and active involvement of the International foundation for Electoral Systems.

The first national consultation meeting of the series will be held at the Auditorium of International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) on the 8th of February from 9:30 P. M. till 12:00 P. M. and will be open for the interested Sri Lankans living with disabilities and for the disability advocates with substantial knowledge and field experience in the inclusive development and electoral sector.

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Download the pamphlets in English, Tamil and Sinhala.

#icanChangeSL & #wecanChangeSL: Shaping a new Sri Lanka

The Presidential poll of 8 January 2015 inspired the largest number of voters in Sri Lanka’s history to turn out to elect a new president. The #IVotedSL campaign, which went viral in the lead up to and on the day of the election, was an unprecedented effort over social media to enhance voter turnout. Thousands of Sri Lankans participated.

This new campaign seeks to build on and sustain this interest in reframing our country.

As we all know, the work to shape Sri Lanka’s future doesn’t stop with electing a new president or a new government. Change will need to involve all of us as citizens in our various positions and roles in society. There is now a vibrant public and private debate of citizens across the country (and beyond its borders) about the hopes and vision for Sri Lanka’s future. This is currently taking place on social media, traditional media and also in homes and workplaces.

The campaign encourages us all to focus on what we can do in our individual capacities, as well as what other citizens in government, opposition politics, public services, business or our own neighbourhoods can do, to bring about change for good.

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Use the hashtag (#icanChangeSL) to flag an action that you took, a resolution you have made, or an example that you personally want to follow. For example:

  • “I just refused to pay a bribe to a public official #icanChangeSL”
  • “I will speak up the next time I see a woman being harassed on the bus #icanChangeSL”
  • “I am trying to learn about other religious beliefs #icanChangeSL”

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Use the hashtag (#wecanChangeSL) to highlight an example of a positive social practice, an inspiring news story, an idea for your friends or community, or an aspiration for the country as a whole. For example:

  • “Let merit not ‘influence’ decide who gets the job #wecanChangeSL”
  • “Rather than criticizing public services, let’s suggest how to improve them (with available resources) #wecanChangeSL”
  • “Just heard of plan to establish a post A/L volunteer corps for Sri Lanka! #wecanChangeSL”.

Some people are already using the hashtag (#ChangeSL) to mark positive changes that they see taking place in the country.

This is a tool to get your views as a citizen heard, to share your ideas and get feedback. Please use it.

This country is ours to change.

Download the logos here for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the web.

#IVotedSL infographic: How to vote

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

This infographic explains how to cast your vote and what you should avoid doing to have it rejected.

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#IVotedSL infographic: Voter turnout in the region

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

Why should you care? For starters, see the vast powers the office of the Executive President commands in Sri Lanka.

Today, we release another infographic.

Voter ed 5_final

#IVotedSL infographic: Voter turnout at Presidential Elections in Sri Lanka

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

Why should you care? For starters, see the vast powers the office of the Executive President commands in Sri Lanka.

Today, we release another infographic around how one in four registered voters in Sri Lanka, in the past, have not voted at a Presidential Election. We can and must change this.

VOTER ED 2_FINAL version

Change your profile today encourage your friends, family and colleague to go out and vote. To access our badges, logos and profile pics click here.