Generally, the political rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) are provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. National laws in Indonesia also provide for the basis on the political rights of PWDs, such as the Amendment to Constitution 1945; Indonesian Law No. 4/1997 on Disabled People; Indonesian Law No. 22/2007 on Election Administration Body; Indonesian Law No. 10/2008 on Election of DPR, DPD and DPRD Members; Law No. 42 Year 2008 on General Elections for President and Vice-President. It is likewise included in the implementing rules and regulations issued by the election commission, Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU). Thus, KPU must safeguard the political rights of every citizen and guarantee that they would be able to access and exercise their right to political participation in the electoral process, particularly the PWDs, which is among the most marginalized sector.
However, despite the provisions, PWDs continue to face obstacles in exercising their political rights, specifically in the election process. Many PWDs were not registered properly because they barely had any information regarding the registration. Households were also unable to report they have family members with disabilities, thus they were not able to register. Information on the election process, candidates, political parties and their manifestos all proved inaccessible to PWDs due to the medium in which it was disseminated. Moreover, election officers were insensitive towards the needs of PWDs; on certain cases, treating them poorly.
Even in legal matters, there were barriers they had to face preventing them from fully exercising their rights in the political field. It includes the physically-and-mentally-healthy requirement for candidacy which is misleading, leaving persons with disabilities to be discriminated against. Violations on election access for PWDs also received little attention from the election organizers, also for the reason that they have no information regarding the matter. Moreover, no specific provision exists pertaining to access to elections for PWDs.
In the 2014 Presidential Elections Monitoring by the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), it was reported that steps had been taken to make the electoral process more accessible to voters with disabilities. For instance, majority of the voters with disabilities felt contented with the polling process, confident that their vote would remain confidential. Election officers of about 60 percent of the polling stations were also educated about the principles of accessible election for PWDs. Posters, banners, billboards, electronic and print media advertising, as well as organization of democracy volunteers were among the efforts of KPU towards voter education that would also reach PWDs.
However, it was also reported that areas for improvement remain. These include more accessible formats of voter education materials, especially electronic information, encouragement of families for members with disabilities to register, gathering data on PWDs, and educating officers towards accessible information. Thus, it still resulted to a low voter turnout for persons with disabilities.
Recommendations have been provided to answer to answer to the needs of voter with disabilities that would allow them to fully participate in the political arena.
General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA); Voter Education Network for the People (JPPR). (2014).2014 Presidential Elections in Indonesia: Monitoring Results from Aceh, Jakarta, Central Java, South Kalimantan and South Sulawesi.
The Center of Citizens with Disabilities-Access for Elections (PPU PENCA). (2011). Election Access Guidebook: Ensuring the Right to Political Participation for Persons with Disabilities. Jakarta.
Link : Election Access official website – ElectionAccess.org is managed by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an international nonprofit dedicated to strengthening electoral democracy and supporting the right of citizens to participate in free and fair elections.
Link : AGENDA official website – Established in 2011, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) was formed as a forum to improve access to political and electoral opportunities for persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia through increased public awareness and advocacy for change.
PDF : Media Guideline for Reporting on the Accessible Elections (AGENDA: 2015)
PDF : Election Access Guide Book: Ensuring the Right to Political Participation for Persons with Disabilities (The Center for Citizens with Disabilities: 2011) – The Election Guide Book is intended to be used by Indonesia‟s electoral key stakeholders and advocates to draft an election law that ensures the right of persons with disabilities to access and participate in elections.
PDF : Advokasi Toolskits Untuk Organisasi Penyandang Disabilitas – Buku panduan advokasi ini diharapkan sangat berguna bagi para penyandang disabilitast, dalam mengadvokasi dan memperjuangkan pemenuhan hak-haknya agara setara dengan warga non penyandang disabilitas. buku ini juga tentunya sangat bermanfaat sebagai sumber informasi disabilitas bagi anggota legislative dan eksekutif serta pemangku kepentingan penyandang disabilitas lainnya dalam penyusunan program, kebijakan dan penganggaran berkaitan penyandang.
PDF : Monitoring Accessibility in Elections for Voters with Disabilities in Indonesia
PDF : Potret Pemilu Akses Dalam Pemilu Presiden 2014 (AGENDA: 2015)
Link : Head of Election Monitoring Agency Admits to Poor Election Accessibility (AGENDA: 2011)
Link : News Clipping on accessible elections for persons with disabilities (AGENDA)
Link : AGENDA checklists for accessible elections