BRIDGE Workshop on Disability Rights and Elections, Ciawi, April 6-7

On 6-7 April 2016, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) conducted a workshop on Disability Rights and Elections in Ciawi, West Java. Two national commissioners from the Indonesia General Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU); fifteen provincial KPU commissioners from eight provinces that will organize regional head elections on 15 February 2017; five KPU secretariat staff; and six AGENDA staff participated in the workshop. The workshop was led by experienced trainers using the Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) methodology. The workshop was led by IFES’ Inclusion Officer, an Australian Electoral Commission BRIDGE trainer and an Indonesian certified BRIDGE trainer who is also a former Commissioner of South Sulawesi Province Election Commission.

The workshop was officially opened by KPU Commissioner Ferry Kurnia Rizkyansyah and IFES Indonesia Chief of Party, David Ennis. In the workshop, participants learned about the legal framework governing the rights of persons with disabilities, especially the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Indonesia ratified in 2011. Participants also learned about different type of disabilities, the political rights of voter with disabilities, the electoral cycle related to disability and best practices for accessible elections. The most interesting session, according to participant feedback, was an election simulation in which the commissioners and secretariat staff experienced both inaccessible and accessible polling stations from the perspective of a voter with disabilities.

Participants expressed their appreciation to AGENDA for facilitating the workshop, during which they gained knowledge about addressing the rights of voters with disabilities. The commissioners and secretariat staff also expressed an increased willingness to look for and ensure accessible elections for voters with disabilities.