At the CEC meeting, dated 25 February 2013, discussions were held to forecast budget for the elections of 23 June 2013. Among other things, the commissioners discussed the item "costs for consumer goods" which included production costs for the ramps which should be placed at the entrances of buildings of polling stations to enable access to vote for people with disability.
During the discussions, this part of the budget related to the production of ramps for people with disability was opposed, being considered as "excessive luxury" according to the commentary ... "used only once".
Coalition for Free and Fair Elections draws the attention that is necessary that You, honored members of CEC be reminded that:
- According to the "National Strategy for People with Disabilities" Decision No. 8, dated 7.1.2005, and its action plan, I, 1,ë) it is defined the obligation to adjust the polling stations;
- According to Electoral Code, Article 108, point 7, it is defined the legal obligation that Voting Centers should be adopted to be made accessible through placing assistive devices/ramps at their entrance;
- According to DCM No 1503, dated 19.11.2008 "Rules for the use of premises by persons with disabilities", Section 2, and in general all the document of Rules, it is states the obligation to adopt the existing buildings as well as construct accessible new ones,:
- Based on Law No. 10 221, dated 04.02.2010 "On Protection against Discrimination", article 3, Clause 7, the lack of reasonable accommodation is stated as a form of discrimination;
- According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the Albanian Parliament in November 2012, in Article 9 is defined the obligation of the state for access to facilities and services, in Article 29, paragraph a, i) is defined the obligation of States for facilitating voting for voters with disabilities:
It is necessary to be known by all, even by You, the honorable members of CEC, that considering the fact that the polling stations are located mostly in public facilities such as schools, health centers, offices, etc. placement of ramps at the entrance to these buildings, make them comply with mandatory national and international standards, not only for the voting process, but also for the daily activities to serve the students and the citizens. Placing the ramps in the public facilities, they will remain for a long-term use, beyond the election period, for all of many users of these objects/building.
So forecasted budgets are not in vain, but will create "the luxury" for persons with disabilities to enjoy the right to vote on an equal, secret and direct way.
Albanian Disability Rights Foundation is engaged consistently in the election processes since the year 2000, to enable participation of voters with disability in an equal, direct, independent and secret voting. Albanian Disability Rights Foundation is committed to further efforts, offering for CEC and institutions responsible the results and recommendations of the study "The electoral rights for voters with disabilities" as well as expertise in the implementation of the adaptation of the entrances of buildings / voting centers
For more information:
Albanian Disability Rights Foundation
Street 'Bogdani', No. 15, 3rd Floor, Tirana