Participation Of People With Disabilities & Special Needs In Haiti Election

Ketizia Brunard, the Secretary of the National Associative Network for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities, during a training program jointly organized by BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), has encouraged the authority to take census of the people with less mobility and people with special needs and give them opportunity to participate in the forthcoming election process. To facilitate their exercising rights for casting votes, the administration can experiment with electronic voting, or voting through mobile phone or set up special offices for them.

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BRIDGE offers training programs to support the election process implemented by the UNDP with fundings from the Haitian government and some other foreign countries like Canada, Brazil, the EU, the USA and Mexico. A report from the World Health Organization confirms that before the 2010 earthquake, there were nearly 800,000 people with disability in Haiti of whom 200,000 were children. The disaster added 300,000 more injured, many of whom were suffered with long term disabilities.

Handicap International Organization has been working in Haiti since 2002. The 2010 killed more than 316,000 people and as many as 4,000 survivors underwent amputations to save their lives. The Citizen Action Observatory of the National Public Sector Authorities (OCAPH), an organization of civil society working to arouse interest among the disinterested voters from the polls of 2010, with an objective to raise the earlier participation of 22% to 45%, this year.

The 2011 legislative and presidential elections were conducted with around 4.7 million voters and UNDP provided critical support to encourage and enable retarded people to take part in the election process and resolve disputes through a text messaging system, a call center and a website. The 2015 election will include nearly 6 million voters, 42 million ballot papers, deployment of more than 50,000 temporary staff in 13,500 voting booths in more than 1,800 polling centers across the country.

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