Picture Caption:Disability activists handed the memorandum to spokeperson of Election Commisssion
Today, the disability activists, in the leadership of NFDN met the spokesperson of Election Commission and handed over the memorandum regarding the various issues of disability in the upcoming election.
Five years strategic paper of Nepal Election Commission 2015-19 has clearly mentioned that at least 1000 polling centers will gradually be made accessible in each election targeting all kinds of people including persons with disabilities and aging people. This document also stated that Election Commission will produce and distribute the voter education materials in accessible formats as well. But most of the polling centers are still not found to be made accessible targeting to persons with different types of disability. Voter education materials are also not developed and distributed in the accessible formats such as Braille, audio, pictorial presentation and so on.
The first phase of local election has already been completed and is going to be conducted the second phase. Moreover, at least 2 other elections will be conducting within the next six months. This is the right time to pressurize Election Commission to at least implement and properly follow the committed issues. Having this fact into the consideration, the group of disability activists met the spokesperson of Nepal Election Commission, Mr. Shurya Prasad Sharma and handed over the memorandum to him. Beside the political and other issues, the memorandum covers the following accessibility related issues:
- Provision of accessible polling booths with approved minimum standards where persons with different types of disabilities can easily and independently visit and cast their votes.
- The provision of clear signage in all proper places and sign language interpreters
- The provision of personal attendance to cast the vote by maintaining the privacy of voting to their own desired candidate.
Taking the memorandum, Mr. Sharma said that Election Commission would use maximum efforts to address these issues during the upcoming elections’ period. He further requested all the activists to remind them time and again so that these important matters would not be missed out.
NFDN is confident that this single visit would not be sufficient to have the tangible results. However, this kind of visit definitely does play the important role to inculcate the concerned authorities. Through the other follow up activities such as election observation programs and media campaigns, NFDN will continue its efforts in pressurizing the concerned stakeholders towards ensuring the commitments and documented policies are effectively implemented.