International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Publication Date: 
1 Dec 2017

News Type:

The annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities, held on December 3, commemorates the human rights of persons with disabilities. For 30 years, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has worked to support the political rights of women and men with disabilities, recognizing that all people should have an equal opportunity to contribute their voice within the political life of their communities. In 2017, IFES collaborated with disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) to design new tools and approaches to empower people with disabilities to participate in political life.

Women from the National Elections Commission (NEC) participate in a training on disability inclusion led by IFES in July 2017.

Women with Disabilities Engage in Liberian Elections

In July, IFES and the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) Gender Section produced a new guide to integrate women with disabilities at the NEC and in its programming, “How to Include Women with Disabilities: A Guide for the Electoral Process in Liberia,” which includes good practice examples from the NEC Gender Section’s work to empower women and persons with disabilities to participate fully.

New Training Connects Journalists and DPOs on Inclusive Reporting

IFES has developed the first joint Disability Rights, Media and Elections Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) module, which focuses on rights-based reporting of elections with the aim of building skills of participants to create inclusive media coverage of the political participation of persons with disabilities. The module has been piloted in Libya and Myanmar.

DPOs from across the ASEAN region discuss priority areas for AICHR in Phuket, Thailand.

DPOs Engage Regional Human Rights Body in Southeast Asia

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), a creative partnership of DPOs and election-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) in Southeast Asia founded by IFES in 2011, organized feedback sessions for DPOs to provide input to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). AGENDA worked with AICHR to integrate disability rights and has played a key role in the development of a master plan on the rights of persons with disabilities.

RightsNow! Coalition Promotes Inclusive Political Parties in Armenia

IFES, as part of the Global Disability RightsNow! Coalition, undertook several initiatives in order to promote inclusion with both political parties and the Central Election Commission in partnership with the Armenian DPO Agate NGO, including the development of a policy platform by DPOs, civil society groups and lawyers. Agreed upon by nearly 60 DPOs and CSOs from across the country, the platform was and signed by eight out of nine political parties.

Facilitating Input by Guatemalan National Disability Council for Electoral Law Reform

In October, IFES provided technical assistance and key thematic inputs to the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (CONADI) throughout the process of drafting recommended updates to the Elections and Political Parties Law. CONADI presented its proposal to the Congressional Disabilities Affairs Committee and to the Board of Magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Coming soon:

  • “Disability Rights and Election Observation: Increasing Access to the Political Process” by Senior Access and Inclusion Specialist Virginia Atkinson, Senior Inclusion Officer Rebecca Aaberg and Senior Global Electoral Adviser Staffan Darnolf published in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights special issue on election observation
  • Inclusive Election Observation Toolkit

Learn more about IFES' disability inclusion programming and visit for the latest on disability rights and inclusive political participation.

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