AGENDA’s partner in Cambodia, the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization (CDPO) has conducted research on disability inclusion in the voter registration process in Cambodia, with support from IFES Indonesia through the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The research, which was undertaken over the past five months, identified specific and actionable steps that Cambodia’s government, election administrators and civil society can take to protect the political rights of persons with disabilities. CDPO offers specific recommendations for these stakeholders to make the voter registration process more inclusive. The research generated sixteen recommendations grouped under five categories.
CDPO held a workshop on Monday, 10 August to present the findings of the report and discuss recommendations with two Commissioners and the Deputy Secretary General from the Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC), DPO representatives and other electoral stakeholders, including IFES Cambodia Country Director Carmina Sanchis-Ruescas. CDPO Executive Director Ngin Saoroth said that while the NEC has helped disabled persons take part in the election process, many needs have yet to be filled. The workshop discussed several of the obstacles that stop disabled people from registering their names for voting, including difficulty verifying their national identities. “The NEC never discriminates against disabled people, and it will put more effort into helping the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization’s recommendations get accepted,” NEC spokesman Hang Puthea was quoted in the Phnom Penh Post. Saorath further mentioned that CDPO will be meeting the Chairman of the NEC in the near future. This will be an excellent chance to continue the advocacy efforts and take advantage of the momentum this event and the work of CDPO have created.
AGENDA seeks to facilitate identification and adoption of better policy in the area of inclusive political processes. The recently published report is part of a series of research AGENDA is conducting on issues related to political participation in Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. AGENDA’s research findings are drawn into stakeholder-led, constructive engagement activities with national election officials and regional officials, including ASEAN’s Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).