U Hla Thein, the chairman of the Union Election Commission (UEC), attended the opening ceremony of the “All-inclusive Election Forum” held at the International Business Centre (IBC) in Yangon yesterday morning and reminded attendees of the importance of free, accessible voting for all members of a democracy.”
Elections play a vital role in the democratisation process, and our commission is striving to educate the citizens who will cast the votes, including disabled persons. As a rule, all citizens are entitled to receive assistance to complete the voting process in the voting booths”, U Hla Thein said.
The UEC chairman added that his commission laid down rules and regulations with the cooperation of civil societies and others in 2014 – 2018, and aimed to hold free and fair elections in the country. As part of that effort, the election commission held educative talks for minorities and disabled persons to enable them vote in the election, he said.
“We invented an appropriate voting system suitable for disabled persons and older people, that’s why arrangements were made to build voting booths for them in the respective constituencies. There were some 10 voting booths in the 2015 -election, and some nine voting booths in the 2017-by election, which were useful for disabled persons.
We shall continue to strive to invent voting systems for them”, he said. “In order to implement Sustainable Development goals, we need to take into consideration marginalised people and disabled persons who deserve equal rights and opportunities”.
As part of yesterday’s forum, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission U Win Mra, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Aung Kyaw Moe, in-charge-of IFES Mr. Paul Guerin and Chairman Myanmar Federation of the Persons with Disabilities U Nay Lin Soe discussed related matters.
Also present at the meeting were members of UEC, Union Election Sub-commissions, officials of the Myanmar Human Rights Committee, Hluttaw representatives, departmental heads, political parties, UN agencies, NGOs and family members of disabled persons.
The form will continue today with discussions such as “Don’t Leave Us Behind”, “Disability, Social Welfare and Social Services”, “Disability and Sustainable Development Goals”, “2030 World Mission”, “The Role of Minorities in Myanmar’s Political Changes”, “Disabled Persons and Ostracised People”, “Affordable Using for Genuine Privileges”, “All-inclusive Strategies, Performances and Work Programmes”, and “All-inclusive Laws and Policies”.