Voting Without Legal Capacity

Summary

‘Human Rights Advocacy through Learning by Doing is a successful advocacy project for legislature change that promotes the right to vote for persons deprived of their legal capacity. Project activities were carried out using a networking advocacy approach, which included wide cooperation with other self-advocate groups, members of the Croatian self-advocacy network, relevant state institutions, the academic community, the media, and Platform 112 – Croatia’s largest civil society network.’

Title

Voting Without Legal Capacity

Location

Croatia

Organisation/s

Croatian Self-advocacy network and Platform 112

Issues addressed

Participation in political and public life

Background information

‘According to data from the national Disability Ombudsman, there are more than 19,000 persons deprived of legal capacity in Croatia, of whom some 16,000 are completely deprived of their legal capacity. Other targeted problems that have impeded the active participation of persons with intellectual disabilities in political and public life are the lack of accessible, easy-to-read information on election procedures and candidates’ programs, and public prejudice that views people with intellectual disability as incapable of participation in democratic processes.’

Description of practice

‘The main objectives realized by the project were making changes to the Voters Register Act, which now provides persons with intellectual disabilities with the right to vote, and raising public awareness. The project brought together self-advocates and a variety of civil society organizations to raise public awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities among the general population and to provide workshops on democratic and voting procedures for self-advocates in local communities.’

Analysis

‘The project provides an innovative and successful example of inclusive practice in advocating for legislature changes and the public promotion of the right to vote for persons with intellectual disabilities. As such, the project methodologies, expertise, and experience gained – and the principle of inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities in carrying out the advocacy activities – is fully transferable and applicable to any other social or societal contexts. The project of course incurred implementation costs, but it imposed no additional costs for the state or any other institution or organization.’

2014 Inclusion Europe. Rue d'Arlon 55, 1040 Brussels, Belgium