IFES Kosovo Promotes Inclusive Elections
According to the World Health Organization, persons with disabilities make up approximately 15 percent of the world’s population, with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 in Kosovo. International laws and treaties, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, call on states to recognize the rights of persons with disabilities and to adopt appropriate measures to ensure that those rights are fully enjoyed. Thus, Kosovo’s persons with disabilities not only have the internationally recognized right to vote, but also make up a significant percentage of Kosovo’s population and have the potential to have a substantial impact in the electoral process. Increased opportunities for involvement in political life also provide persons with disabilities the ability to develop their skills by partaking in the opportunities provided by the political entities of Kosovo.
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has taken a targeted approach to increasing participation for persons with disabilities in electoral and political processes in Kosovo. IFES produced several resources to institutionalize its work, including the “Manual for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Electoral and Political Processes” and the “Leaflet for Disability Access Criteria,” both in English, Albanian and Serbian. The “Manual for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Electoral and Political Processes” provides information on ways of including persons with disabilities in the electoral process and political sector in Kosovo. The “Leaflet for Disability Access Criteria” provides examples of the legally required specifications to ensure equal access for persons with disabilities.