Inge Volleberg writes after a meeting of the Human Dimension Committee of the OSCE in Vienna:
“We [People with disabilities] do not want to be at an advantage. All everybody wants is to not be at a disadvantage.” – Martin Conway, Senator from Ireland
I went to Vienna to speak at a meeting of the Human Dimension Committee of the OSCE. Inclusion Europe was invited to contribute during a panel about political participation of people with disabilities. The panel included Lyazzat Kaltayeva (Senator from Kazakhstan), Martin Conway (Senator from Ireland) and Amila de Saram-Larssen (ODIHR).
I spoke about the estimated 400.000 people with an intellectual disability in the European Union that are not allowed to vote because of their legal capacity status.
Changes in national voting laws are necessary to make sure that everyone can enjoy their right to vote and can stand for elections. I urged national governments to move away from a system of guardianship and move towards a system of supported decision-making.
In addition, I spoke about how elections can be made more accessible for people with intellectual disabilities. Information about elections should be in Easy-To-Read. It would also help to have the option to vote by post. And very important is the possibility to bring a support person you trust into the voting booth.
I finished with reminding the states’ representatives that people in institutions should not be forgotten. They have a right to vote too; a right that often gets denied. Deinsitutionalisation is necessary to ensure everybody can enjoy their right to political participation.
“Let’s make voting accessible so that 20 million people with an intellectual disability can be fully included in our society.”
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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