As part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) in Dili, Timor-Leste, the ASEAN General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) organized a thematic workshop, entitled “A More Inclusive ASEAN Community: Upholding the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Participate in Public Life,” on August 4, 2016.
AGENDA’s workshop was led by representatives from four Southeast Asian countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Timor-Leste), highlighting their experiences and best practices of upholding the rights of persons with disabilities to participate as full and equal citizens in their country. The workshop strengthened cooperation and information-sharing between Southeast Asian civil society members and provided examples of progress that civil society organizations can replicate across the region. The workshop was attended by 35 people from six ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam) and Timor-Leste.
In April this year, a 10th ASEAN country ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, making this the first ACSC/APF at which the complete ASEAN community showed its commitment through international treaties to ensuring that persons with disabilities can fully participate in political public life.
Participants in the “Upholding the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Participate in Public Life” workshop on August 4, 2016 in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) from Southeast Asian countries are working together to protect the rights of persons with disabilities throughout the region. With support from AGENDA, these DPOs are making progress as a group at the national and regional levels through solidarity and group advocacy. This South-South cooperation has grown to include stakeholders and responsible officials exchanging valuable experience on policy challenges and innovation.
Established in 2011, AGENDA was formed to improve access to political and electoral opportunities for persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia through increased public awareness and advocacy for change. AGENDA is a creative partnership between the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, DPOs, and election-focused civil society organizations. AGENDA has operated in eight countries, including current partners in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam. AGENDA is generously supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia.