Ensure Voting Rights of Women with Disabilities

by Equip for Equality Nepal
Ensure Voting Rights of Women with Disabilities

     The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Article 29 states that voting procedures, facilities and materials must be appropriate, accessible and easy to understand for use of persons with intellectual disabilities.

     Sustainable Development Goals 10 (SDGs 10) states that all national laws and policies should be disability inclusive to eliminate discrimination and should provide reasonable accommodation.

     This project intends to ensure that persons with intellectual disabilities can vote and can do so privately and independently but with the support they may require. This project has been doing this by:

1)      conducting intensive policy level workshops with election authorities to enforce voter accessibility laws and campaigning policy information on intellectual disability people; including their citizenship rights, improving the education system, and regulation of the welfare;

2)      breaking down a barrier facing persons with intellectual disabilities in an innovative way and push existing boundaries to inspire them to achieve new heights.

     In many parts of Nepal, especially in remote rural areas, intellectual disability is still attributed to past wrongdoing, by parents or even by persons with disabilities themselves. In rural areas, persons with intellectual disabilities are barred from religious and cultural events like wedding ceremonies and other formal occasions, as their presence is thought to bring bad luck.

     In Nepal, persons with intellectual disabilities are often subjected to inhuman treatment and are perceived as objects requiring charity, and with seemingly no rights.

     Moreover, resource allocation for persons with intellectual disabilities is inadequate and government plans and programs are not fully disability inclusive.

     These are the unique challenges that intellectual disability people face while exercising the voting rights:

1)      stereotypes about disabled peoples’ capabilities and cultural beliefs about the causes of mental disability;

2)      lack of accessible materials on how to vote, such as a guide in simple language;

3)      laws and policies that are not inclusive of persons with disabilities.

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     In remote rural Nepal, especially in Far-West Nepal (Achham, Dadeldhura, Doti and Kanchanpur districts), one of Nepal’s poorest areas, disability is still attributed to past wrongdoing by parents or even by disabled people themselves. Disabled persons, especially persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities are barred from religious rites and cultural events like wedding ceremonies and other formal occasions, as their presence is thought to bring bad luck.

     Also, in remote rural Nepal, Dalit (“untouchable”) women with disabilities face triple discrimination. They are often subjected to inhuman treatment such as untouchability, and, as disabled, they are perceived as objects requiring charity, with seemingly no rights

     This project aims to:

a)      Conduct intensive policy level workshops with election authorities to enforce voter accessibility laws;

b)      Engage disabled peoples’ organizations and other community groups to collaboratively advocate for the civic and political rights of women with intellectual disabilities;

c)      Engage key government departments to sustain disabled women's inclusion, build networks, and provide ongoing training to disability rights advocates.

     Project results:

  1. Equipped 300 women with disabilities (75 women in each district), their families, representatives from organizations of persons with disabilities, Election Commission staff, Court staff, and police officers with insights and skills on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Article 29 (Right to Political Participation);
  2. Trained 12 human rights defenders to understand election laws and policies to use in prosecuting cases of persons with intellectual disabilities;
  3. Trained 25 policy-makers on how to draft enforceable election laws to promote voting rights of persons with disabilities;
  4. Minimized stereotypes prevalent in rural communities about Nepali disabled women’s capabilities that block them from exercising their voting rights;
  5. Initiated a positive flow-on effect on other marginalized people (2SLGBTQ+, the elderly, persons with low literacy, indigenous people with disabilities, people with mental health conditions or psychosocial disabilities) who are excluded from their voting rights.

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Organization Information

Equip for Equality Nepal

Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati - Nepal
Website:
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Project Leader:
Dev Datta Joshi
Kathmandu, Bagmati Nepal
$1,306 raised of $5,000 goal
 
7 donations
$3,694 to go
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