Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) recently organized a policy circle titled “Disability and Inclusion in Election” at The Westin, Dhaka. The dynamic discussion centered on advocacy to empower individuals with disabilities to engage fully in the electoral process with distinguished speakers, Ms Kabery Sultana, Intern at Access Bangladesh Foundation on the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities; Mr. Ghazi Quamrul Hasan, General Secretary, Bangladesh Deaf Sports Federation; and Ms Jannatul Ferdous Ivy, Executive Director, Voice & Views. Diplomats based in Dhaka, former Ambassadors, representatives from international organizations, academicians and students attended the event.
The moderator of the discussion Ms Lasanthi Daskon, Deputy Country Director IFES, Bangladesh, set the ambiance for the event by initially highlighting the fact that the issue of disability inclusion is not very commonly discussed especially in relations to election. Ms Kabery Sultana said that no initiatives are being taken in the local level while the international or development organizations are arranging seminars and sessions regarding inclusion and diversity in election. Mr. Ghazi Quamrul Hasan stated that the biggest obstacle that people with hearing disabilities face in electoral process is communication as people who do not know sign language cannot communicate with them. According to Ms Jannatul Ferdous Ivy, challenges can be traced in the infrastructural level, technical level and gender based challenges along with lack of knowledge on disabilities.
The discussion ended with a lively interactive session.