Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Human Rights Watch on Disability Voting Rights in Peru

See this press release, with linked report.  The release begins:
Peru should remove significant barriers preventing people with disabilities from exercising their right to vote and other civil rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The failure to dismantle the obstacles is undermining Peru’s leadership as one of the first countries to ratify, in 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 
The 89-page report, “‘I Want to be a Citizen Just Like Any Other’: Barriers to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Peru,” documents the legacy of a policy, changed only in October 2011, that arbitrarily denied people with sensory, intellectual, and psychosocial disabilities their right to vote, considering them legally incompetent to exercise such a decision. Human Rights Watch also examined the barriers that people with these and other disabilities face when exercising their political rights, including the difficulty of getting identity documents essential for voting, and the absence of support mechanisms to help people with disabilities make voting decisions. 
“Peruvians with disabilities are no-less citizens than anyone else,” said Shantha Rau Barriga, disability rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. “Everyone is equally entitled to vote and participate in society – and the law and government policy should see to it that they have the support they need and that no one is arbitrarily and unjustifiably excluded.” 
The report is based on interviews with more than 100 people with disabilities and their families, as well as with Peruvian government officials and disability advocates.

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