One-day orientation organized for the potential candidates with disabilities in the upcoming election

Published on: September 14, 2022

Around 35 people are are arranged in two rows for photo session

An orientation program was organized by the Center for Independent Living with Persons with Disabilities, Kathmandu (CIL-Kathmandu) under the support of Canadian Funds for local Initiative-CFLI on 6 September 2022 for the likelier candidates with disabilities to promote their electoral candidacy for the upcoming provincial and federal level election. Organized to boost the motivation, knowledge, and awareness of the interested individuals having the possibility of being chosen in the closed list of the candidates or for the directly electing system, the program held focused on enhancing the information and interest of the persons with disability and developing their electoral skills.

The event was organized at Hotel Hardik on 06 September, dividing the interaction into three sessions. In the first session, the representative from the gender and social inclusion section of Election Commission Nepal, Mr. Kamal Bhattarai oriented the attendees on the constitutional, legal and policy-based provisions favoring the political and electoral involvement of persons with disabilities. He also identified the challenges experienced during the implementation of the policy and programs and showed his commitment and solidarity in increasing the representation of persons with disability in the electoral process. The participants drew the attention of the facilitator to the malpractice of selecting people without disabilities in the compulsive parts as well, emphasizing the issue of compulsory provision of disability cards before finalizing the disability section in the closed list. The trainer also reassured of the possible support from the side of the election commission and informed the participants about a hotline number where the issues of violation of rights and complaints of electoral issues can be recorded to be launched very soon.

In the following session, Manish Prasai, the expert on disability and accessibility shared his knowledge regarding the political rights and electoral candidacy of persons with disabilities prioritizing the need for political representation and candidacy of persons with disabilities. Mr. Prasai added that historically a misconception has been constructed that the persons with disabilities are to be ruled by ‘someone else but not they themselves and also the people with the majority of those without disabilities set some standards as per their conveniences and started recognizing all the differences and diversity as ‘inability’ or ‘abnormality’, therefore limiting the access to different parts of life including the political and electoral access. The participants shared their experiences on the lack of sensitization of issues among the persons without disabilities elected by them in the elections before. Focusing on article 29 of UNCRPD, the session encouraged the candidates to claim and step forward for their rights to political and public participation and representation.

Finally, the last session facilitated by disability campaigner and expert in the disability sector Maheshwar Ghimire previewed the condition and practice of electoral processes in Nepalese history, emphasizing the inclusion of underprivileged sections of the society including persons with disabilities. The participants noted the problem of bad practices of choosing people without disabilities from the disability quota in the proportionate election, and the misrepresentation and negligence of political parties while finalizing the closed list and also during the selection of candidates for the FPTP method. Activist Ghimire also shared his knowledge on the inadequate efforts from the disability sector and weaker and ineffective conditions of disability unions within the political parties leading to their exclusions. The compulsory inclusion of persons with disabilities and active role and contribution from all the stakeholders can only guide the representation of persons with disabilities at the policy-making level as shared by the attendees in the interaction.

To boost the leadership skills, capacity, and political awareness of persons with disabilities, and also to create a welcoming atmosphere in the political arena for the candidacy of persons with disabilities, CIL-Kathmandu has launched a project under the support of the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) focusing on the upcoming election. The lobby/advocacy campaigns, awareness, and skill enhancement will be going in hand in hand’ said the secretary general of CIL Mr. Ganesh KC.