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.

Request for a Depoliticised Public Service and Introduction of Reforms

Download a PDF of this letter here.

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H.E Maithripala Sirisena
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat”
Colombo 01

10th January 2015

Your Excellency,

Request for a Depoliticised Public Service and Introduction of Reforms

We write to you as two independent election monitoring bodies which have monitored elections in Sri Lanka for several years and proposed electoral reform. We write to urge you to take immediate steps to ensure a public service that is depoliticised and non-partisan.

At this historic juncture in the political landscape in Sri Lanka, we believe steps are needed to ensure a public service strengthened by the appointment of secretaries to ministries and other key officials who have the necessary experiences and training required for the respective office and not on the basis of political and other considerations. We have previously observed that secretaries and other key positions to Ministries and other State institutions were politicized with many involved in and/or supporting politicians and political parties. Such practices severely undermined the independence and integrity required of the public service to ensure the effective implementation of government policy. This is an opportunity to correct past wrongs and to ensure appointments made are based on merit and for the furtherance of good governance and democracy in Sri Lanka.

In this context, it is paramount to facilitate the appointment of independent institutions including independent commissions for elections, police and public service and to introduce much needed constitutional and legal reform to provide for the integrity of the electoral reforms. We look forward to engaging with you and others in Government regarding this.

Thank you,

P.Saravanamuttu, Co-Convenor, CMEV
Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director, PAFFREL

#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