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.