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International Conference on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process held

Published on January 26, 2018
A one day International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process’ was hosted by the Election Commission of India in New Delhi.
International Conference on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process held
  • The conference was hosted on the occasion of the 8th National Voters’ Day on the 25th of January.
  • The theme for this year’s National Voters’ day was ‘Accessible Elections’.
  • According to the Election Commission of India, the PwD (Persons with Disabilities) have the right to full electoral participation, on the basis of equality and therefore should not be discriminated against any ground.
  • Among the delegates who attended the conference are Chairpersons or Senior officials of five EMBs (Election Management Bodies) which include Australia, Bhutan, Guinea, Moldova and Zambia and Heads of two International organizations- IFES (International Foundation of Electoral Systems) and IDEA (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance).
  • The Chief Election Commissioner Sh. O. P. Rawat while addressing the conference, mentioned that that ECI is committed to the objective that the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) have the right to full electoral participation.
  • The major initiatives taken by the ECI were highlighted by him to ensure the provision of basic facilities at the polling stations so as to make them conducive for Persons with Disabilities to exercise their right to vote.
  • Election Commissioner Mr Sunil Arora mentioned that while Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the principal and universal legal instrument that lays the foundation of universal adult suffrage, the 2006 UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities specifically recognized the rights of PwDs.
  • This Conference was a part of the initiatives of the ECI to make elections and electoral processes accessible to all.
  • Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Mr Umesh Sinha gave a presentation titled ‘Crossing the Barriers: Making Elections Friendly and Accessible for PwDs in India’. In his presentation, he discussed the major barriers and challenges faced by the PwDs and the initiatives taken by the ECI in ensuring their inclusion in the electoral process.
  • Three sessions were held in the conference in which the delegates gave their presentations and shared their experiences, practices and initiatives aiming electoral engagement and active participation of the PwDs.
  • The Election Commission of India also launched its Social Media Hub, comprising Facebook and YouTube as part of its outreach programme for the public at large.
  • The Conference has been organized under the VoICE.NET platform which is the global knowledge network having membership from more than 25 Election Management Bodies and International Organisations.
  • The quarterly magazine issued under the VoICE.NET – ‘VoICE International’ had its third issue dedicated to the cause of the PwDs. The Issue carries rich experience for knowledge sharing on inclusion PwDs across the world of democracies.

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