In February 2016, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) published Disability Access and Inclusion in the Political Processes of Four Southeast Asian Countries. The report provides key insights from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, written by local disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs), on access and inclusion of persons with disabilities with the support of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The report was made possible by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Disability Access and Inclusion provides a thorough analysis of challenges and opportunities in each country to participate in political life. The Southeast Asian region’s role as a leader in proactively supporting the rights of persons with disabilities is illustrated by efforts in the Philippines toward increasing accessibility in voter registration processes and encouraging inclusive practices in Cambodia to hire persons with disabilities in the National Election Committee.
AGENDA researchers also noted common areas for improvement in the region, such as utilizing existing legal frameworks and electoral regulations to foster inclusion in each of the four countries. For example, there are often gaps in training for poll workers, which result in disability policies implemented well in some areas and less well in others.
Established in 2011, AGENDA was formed to improve access to political and electoral opportunities for persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia through increased public awareness and advocacy for change. AGENDA is a creative partnership between IFES, DPOs, and election-focused civil society organizations. AGENDA has operated in eight countries, including current partners in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam.