International Human Rights Instruments

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the primary international document that protects human rights. Article 21 declares that state parties should guarantee the right to participate in government and elections and the right to public services. Indonesia is a signatory to the UDHR.

Legal Framework

The protection of civil and political rights of all citizens, including persons with disabilities, was re-emphasized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was passed on December 16, 1966. Article 25 of the ICCPR states that, “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity… to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections.” Indonesia acceded to the ICCPR on February 23, 2006.

On December 13, 2006 the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It has been instrumental in changing the way in which the issue of disability is addressed, by emphasizing human rights rather than medical treatment, charity and social protection. Article 29 requires state parties to guarantee the political rights of persons with disabilities and the opportunity to enjoy those rights on an equal basis with others. The state parties must also take measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can participate in political and public life fully and effectively, either directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to be able to vote and be elected. To date there are 159 signatories and 151 ratifications and accessions to the CRPD. Indonesia ratified the CRPD on November 30, 2011.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Indonesia is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), established on August 8, 1967. The Bangkok Declaration, the founding document of ASEAN, states that its principal objective is to “accelerate the economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of South-East Asian Nations.”

The 19th ASEAN Summit, hosted by Indonesia in Bali in November 2011, resulted in the Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community. The Bali Declaration consists of 20 points, and encourages ASEAN members to take the steps necessary to realize the protection and fulfillment of rights for persons with disabilities. Article 7 raises the issue of the political participation of persons with disabilities, calling on member states to, “encourage the participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of development, including their participation in political activities, by providing them with equal political rights in the election of leaders and parliamentarians, both at local and national levels.”

At the national level, the protection of political rights of persons with disabilities is mentioned in various laws and regulations, such as in constitutions, disability-specific laws and electoral laws. Detailed information on such regulations and laws in Southeast Asian countries are provided in the links below. These links are taken from IFES’s website: