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.
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), as the very first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of the persons with disabilities with the auspices of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, has been able to reach out to over 250 representatives of leading Disabled Persons’ Organizations from over 20 districts around the country and obtain their input regarding the issues faced by them concerning the electoral process.
The focal point on persons with disabilities and older persons, that has been appointed by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, also took part in these consultative discussions where the issues of the said DPOs were presented and suitable recommendations deliberated with the relevant stakeholders related to the electoral process.
Download the report in English here and Sinhala here.
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.
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;
Since the inception of the organization, CMEV has been working to mainstream the voting rights of marginalized groups, by mainly taking part in the Electoral reforms debate. 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. – PGE 2015 report with Braille
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. Further, CMEV in partnership with the Election Commission distributed relevant voter awareness material in accessible formats. Currently CMEV has taken a new initiative to provide Braille printing of all available main Election acts and regulations. – Voter Awareness (1)
Further, CMEV in partnership with a group of civil society organizations and individuals promoting the rights of Persons With Disabilities, including volunteers from the 2015 ‘Enabled Elections’ made a submission 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. It has been a landmark collective effort as such a submission on the political rights of Persons with Disabilities was made for the first time in political history. In the same time, Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms had been included several proposals made through the submissions.
Currently CMEV has got its final report of the Parliamentary General Election 2015 in Braille printing, along with other important documents. Those who wish to refer the said documents, please contact Tharuka Karunarathne on 0754302423.
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.
Since the very first general parliamentary election of Sri Lanka that was commenced in the year 1947, the recent general parliamentary Election that was held on the 17th of August 2015, is regarded as the 16th such election if one were to take the referendum held in the year 1982 as well into account.
Various opposition entities with the expectations of a good governance, lined up to question and critique the absence of the elements of a good governance in the conduct of the previous regime by raising their voices collectively with the participation of numerous community based organizations. Consequently, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was appointed as the president on the 9th of January 2015. The subsequent general election also was spearheaded with the same intents of a good governance and accordingly the political fronts which advocated the principles of the good governance procured the victory at the general parliamentary elections held on the 17th August in the year 2015. The victory of the said election can be considered a significant landmark in the electoral history of Sri Lanka because the respective political fronts which were thus appointed had placed the agenda of the Civil Society Organizations at the forefront. In addition to the aforesaid distinction, the general election held in the year 2015 is significant due to the free and democratic atmosphere that had been manifested amidst the transitional phase of Sri Lanka that transformed from a post-conflict ambiance into a post-war context. Hence this particular general election turned out to be a steppingstone for the successive elections to be able to reinstate the democratic right of the citizenry to select and elect the candidates of their choice sans any influence.
The misappropriation of the state property as in the case of the presidential election in the year 2015 was largely absent at the recent election and instead, there was greater latitude for the election commissioner to consistently deploy his authority impartially in the electoral machination. Although there were instances of incurring colossal expenses on political campaign and hateful remarks levelled at political opponents, overall the general parliamentary election 2015 is recorded as a free and fair election that was held in Sri Lanka after a long period of time. Moreover, this election is regarded as the last election commenced under the authority of the Department of Elections prior to the establishment of an independent Elections Commission.
This report will be translated to Sinhala and Tamil languages as well and will be compiled in Braille and as an audio version in Sinhala for the benefit of visually impaired Persons.
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.
Our contact details are for the Presidential Election 2015 are:
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Co-Convenor-CMEV
(+94) 777731458 (direct)
Mr. Manjula Gajanayake Coordinator