TALK BACK WITH JAYASIRI: LG elections delay and consequences

Mr. Manjula Gajanayake, National Co-ordinator, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence – TALK BACK WITH JAYASIRI: Centre for Monitoring Violence (CMEV) is facilitating a series of programs focusing on current political issues, giving special focus to the electoral reforms and the reconciliation processes of the country.

The National Co-ordinator of CMEV, Mr. Manjula Gajanayake attended this program and expressed his thoughts on the current situation of the delayed Local Government Elections as well as the consequences of delaying such an important election for such a long time.

He further highlighted number of weaknesses of the previous delimitation committee report on the local government elections published in gazette by the President in September last year and the unconditional importance of holding this election without any further delay. He further highlighted the importance of strengthening the newly established Election Commission with powers being vested on it to hold any election under its discretion and the importance of having a schedule of elections.

Empowering youth towards inclusion and advocacy

CMEV was able to facilitate the project ‘Assista’ (Atha Hitha), recently implemented by Enable Lanka Foundation. The main objective of this project is to facilitate resources to make youth in selected districts of the country proactive youth leaders who will work as active stakeholders to bring in solutions faced by the communities in the district pertaining to civic and political engagement, employment and inclusion. The first event took place in Galle recently and this short documentary was produced at the said event.

 

Press conference to ensure that local government elections are conducted urgently

The official term of most of the local government authorities have ended at this time. Thus, it is undoubtedly the need of the hour to ensure that local government elections are held without any further delay. However, no precise statement has so far been issued with regard to the time frame for holding elections.

CMEV held a press conference on 23rd June 2016 where relevant legal and technical aspects and other pertinent background facts with regard to the above subject was discussed.

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Additional media coverage of the event is available here: Press Coverage_CMEV.

View a video of the event here.

 

Voters’ Day – June 2016

June 01st is considered as ‘VOTERS’ DAY’ of the country. There were several awareness programs and gatherings to celebrate this special day during the first week of this month. It is for the first time that the Election Commission (EC) celebrated this day after they were established. Centre for Monitoring Election Violence also celebrated it in partnership with the Election Commission. The main event of the Election Commission was held at the auditorium of the District Secretariat of Colombo this morning. The Chairman of the EC highly appreciated the involvement of CMEV, particularly in providing awareness material in accessible formats. Here are some images of distributing leaflets, the walk and the main gathering.

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Press Conference: Condemning the appointment of Anusha Palpita

A joint media conference of main Election observation groups in Sri Lanka was held yesterday at CSR Maradana, to condemn the appointment of Anusha Palpita as the Additional Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs.  As widely reported, Mr. Palpita is indicted before the High Court of Colombo in terms of offences against the Public Property act and the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (SLTRC) act. He is due to stand trial for allegedly misappropriating Rs 600 million worth funds, belonging to the SLTRC during 30th October 2014 and 5th January 2015.

Representatives of CMEV, Paffrel, TI, MFFE and CaFFE attended the media brief.

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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.