Round table meeting on a disability-inclusive and accessible electoral process with the stakeholders 

Published on: November 2, 2022

Participants are seated in the round table setup for the session

On 28th of September, 2022, CIL-Kathmandu, in partnership with Blind Youth Association Nepal (BYAN) conducted a dialog with the stakeholders from diverse sectors to create a favorable milieu for disability-inclusive electoral candidacy and processes, and accessible electoral systems at Hotel Hardik Bagbazar, Kathmandu. The round table discussion was attended by the senior members of different major political forces, disability advocates and campaigners, disability sister wings of political parties, journalists and media personnel, politically active youths with disability and the shortlisted individuals with a disability for the proportionate and direct election in the upcoming provincial and federal election of 20th November. 

 Under the project of ensuring disability electoral candidacy of persons including women, indigenous, madhesis, Tharus, Dalits and other marginalized sections with disabilities, the event was conducted after the lobby and advocacy meetings with major political forces where the memorandum ‘positionpaper’ was submitted to the political leaders seeking their support and approval for including the persons with disabilities as their candidates, and hence leading to their representation in the parliament afterwards. The conference aimed to boost the campaign for inclusion and representation of persons with disability at the decision-making level for which the political leaders were invited to recall and remind their commitments during the visits and publicly repeat their determinations so that they be accountable towards their promises. Meanwhile, the round table meeting also served as a common platform for the attendees/stakeholders to share their experiences, knowledge, learnings and challenges along with plans, policies, and strategies to make the electoral process accessible and representative. A short presentation on the projects of both organizations regarding the election was made by Shudarson Subedi, a disability expert and experienced disability advocate, followed by the presentation of the standpoint of persons with disability and procurement of commitments to contribute and collaborate to the possible extent to include PWDs in electoral processes. The responsible individuals also provided a signed commitment to work for ensuring the representation and access of PWDs in the electoral and political arena.

The dissemination of demands and concerns of PWDs in relation to their access and representation through the approaching election was successfully accomplished through the round table dialog as expressed by one of the attendants. Similarly, the attendants from the media also played a crucial role in publicizing the issues of disability and prioritizing their reach. The participants also shared that the sitting has proved to be a means of pressure in a way that the signed commitments and publicly recorded verbal promises would be the base to remind and advocate if the words won’t be kept at the end.