Candidates for president and vice president in the Dominican Republic meet with representatives of disabled persons organization in advance of the May 20 election.
On May 15, several candidates running in the May 20 election and representatives of disabled persons organizations from across the Dominican Republic met to discuss the government’s programs for persons with disabilities. The aim of the forum was to present presidential candidates with a comprehensive proposal that reflects the need to implement public policies that benefit this sector and ensure respect for their rights as equal citizens.
The first-ever meeting, organized by the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) and its subgrantee La Red Iberoamericana de Entidades de Personas con Discapacidad (La Red), is part of the project, named “Right to Choose,” that is being implemented with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Starting early in the morning and continuing past noon, representatives of persons with disabilities and presidential candidates exchanged views and ideas.
Cristina Francisco, IFES’ chief of party in the Dominican Republic, thanked the candidates for their time and said she has faith that the perspective of persons with disabilities will be taken into account in the implementation of their government plan.
Ángel Espinal, La Red’s technical coordinator for the project, pointed out that even though 15 percent of the Dominican population has a disability, this sector is largely overlooked. He welcomed the effort that is being made by the candidates and exhorted the disability community to hold their next president accountable for his commitment to a more inclusive government.
Persons with disabilities have massive potential and the ability to contribute equally to their societies, but they face a number of difficult barriers in their daily lives. Because of this, it is important that societies focus on being more inclusive, be mindful of and address all architectural barriers, and strive to eliminate discrimination and other barriers that keep them from exercising their full rights.
The event took place at the Narciso González cultural center in the country’s capital.