Participation of Persons with Disabilities in political and public life
In order for citizens with disabilities to effectively and fully participate in political and public life on equal terms with other citizens, it is necessary that the state undertake targeted and effective measures both in regulation and in the area of practical application of the standards. This means that the exercise of the right to participate sometimes requires specific actions of the state, and so the person with sensory disabilities may require material for voting in Braille, or if the polling place has no ramp or is too far from the house of persons with physical disabilities which can prevent him/her from voting, the state should ensure the realization of the right to participate in political life. Contrary to the economic, social and cultural rights, civil and political rights are not subject to progressive realization and the state must protect and improve these rights immediately. Persons with disabilities should be involved and participate in all aspects of the society, including political public life which includes the provision of consultation with persons with disabilities in the implementation of the Convention and the adoption of measures or laws that affect them, revision of electoral laws, etc.
The problem of disability is based on the factors of the environment, in social and political context. The participation of persons with disabilities in social life is therefore not seen as a result of the limited capacity for social participation, but as an indicator of the willingness of the social environment to engage the available capacities of persons with disabilities.
Recommendations for improving the situation
- It is necessary to improve the accessibility of the electoral system for persons with disabilities in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that the electoral process, polling places and material are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand, that citizens with disabilities have the possibility of secret voting in the elections which in the case blind persons is not enabled;
- It is necessary to improve the situation of persons with disabilities to enjoy guaranteed rights without barriers and to create equal chances for participation in political and public life through the new legislative solution;
- Information and communication during the election process must respond to the needs of deaf and hard of hearing persons, information should be translated information into sign language and/or transferred by a technology of simultaneous written text as well as being easy to understand when it comes to persons with intellectual disabilities;
- Ensure that the electoral process is available to persons with disabilities so they can be properly informed and participate in debates, which encourage both passive and active voting rights.
Article 29 of CRPD – Participation in political and public life
States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake:
- a) To ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by:
- Ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
- Protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate;
iii. Guaranteeing the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as electors and to this end, where necessary, at their request, allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice;
- b) To promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, including:
- Participation in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country, and in the activities and administration of political parties;
ii. Forming and joining organizations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local levels.