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OSCE promotes voting rights of people with disabilities in Kazakhstan

2018-03-16

A roundtable discussion and seminar dedicated to the promotion of electoral rights of people with disabilities took place on 15 March 2018 in Astana.

The event was organized by the Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan (CEC) and the OSCE Programme Office in Astana for 65 CEC members, parliamentarians as well as representatives of state agencies, regional administrations, election commissions and associations of people with disabilities as well as diplomatic missions and international organizations.

The event focused on voting rights of people with disabilities and the efforts of the host country’s election authorities to secure such rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by Kazakhstan in 2015.

An OSCE-supported expert, Pavel Cabacenco, explained international standards and principles for political participation of persons with disabilities and their practical implementation in the OSCE participating States. Representatives of associations of people with disabilities shared the challenges and issues faced by such people in the exercise of their voting rights and potential ways to address them.

Berik Imashev, CEC Chairman shared the CEC plan to implement a set of measures to ensure that people with disabilities can fully enjoy their electoral rights.

Ambassador György Szabó, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana said: “The international community needs to properly address the practical implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in particular with regard to securing their electoral rights. It is very important to ensure that not only voting facilities and materials are accessible and convenient for those with disabilities, but also procedures necessary to exercise their active and passive electoral rights are simple and meet the special needs of persons with disabilities.”

The discussion was followed by a training seminar for some 40 representatives of civil society, regional administrations and election commissions. The seminar focused on the challenges and potential solutions related to different stages of the electoral cycle and the ways to ensure the right of disabled people to vote.

The event was part of the Office’s continuous efforts to enhance the transparency and accountability of electoral processes and strengthen democratic institutions in compliance with OSCE principles and commitments.

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe