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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A recap on previous elections through cartoons

The two national level elections which were held in the year 2015 can be regarded as the elections which acquired the widest visibility and prominent attention in the recent past. While those elections were apparently referred to as free and fair in every sense, the enormous efforts taken by the relevant stakeholders to preserve the integrity of the said election should also be commended emphatically. The greatest visibility was received at the time with this regard was by the Department of Elections, Department of Police and the election monitoring organizations.
One of the predominantly noticeable trends throughout the period in which the said elections were held, was the inculcation of the role of the then Commissioner of Elections Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya in diverse ways by the print media through newspapers by way of cartoons. Undoubtedly, grasping the way in which the media operated during such a crucial period would be instrumental for anyone who is exploring the history of elections in Sri Lanka. In that regard, the elements reflected through the cartoons which appeared in the newspapers at the time, will provide invaluable insights to anybody who is investigating about the history of elections in Sri Lanka.

Access the contents of the book here.

cover-book

Publications on Disability Rights

During the last Presidential Election, CMEV was able to mainstream its Election observation process, providing opportunities for Persons with Disabilities to work at CMEV office, as well as in the field as short term Election observers. At the same time, CMEV worked to Educate and inform Persons With Disabilities to exercise their right to vote while proactively engaging in the civil life without being discriminated on grounds of disability. Currently CMEV has taken a new initiative to provide Braille printing of all available main Election Acts and Regulations as well as produce booklets and other awareness material on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the role and responsibilities of Government agencies including Local Authorities, towards protecting their rights.

The two books in Sinhala and Tamil can be downloaded below;

CBM Book-Tamil

CBM Book-Sinhala

View the infographics in Sinhala and Tamil below;

CBM infographic Tamil 2016-05-20

CBM infographic Sinhala 2016-05-25

 

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.