Disability rights

People with disabilities have equal access to political and public life.

One out of seven people in the world has a disability, yet people with disabilities remain underrepresented in political and public life. Participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process provides the basis for mainstreaming their inclusion in all aspects of society by breaking down social stigmas and increasing the accountability of elected representatives. IFES partners with organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), governments and civil society to advance the political and electoral rights of persons with disabilities around the world. IFES has worked with OPDs in more than 60 countries and is a recognized thought leader on political rights of persons with disabilities, receiving the InterAction Disability Inclusion Award in 2011 and two Zero Project Innovative Practice awards in 2015 and 2019.

IFES works to strengthen political inclusion by:

  • Providing technical assistance to electoral management bodies, human rights commissions and other national and regional government stakeholders on how to implement international standards such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Supporting persons with disabilities and civil society organizations to advocate for equal rights.
  • Assisting citizen-led efforts to define best practices through the development of global tools such as the Equal Access manual and the online resource www.ElectionAccess.org.

Explore our resources linked here to learn more and get involved.


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IFES Democratic Resilience Lab

IFES designs, tests and deploys innovative strategies and capabilities to strengthen democratic resilience and counter backsliding and authoritarianism.

Focus Areas

IFES joins with others to tackle the most pressing issues for democracy and elections today.