Women’s Political Rights Advocacy Group convened a session on September 23rd to further discuss the recommendation proposals to the Ministries of Education, Interior Affairs and Women’s Affairs and amend them based on the challenges shown in FEFA’s reports on voter registration process.
At the session, the proposal drafted for the Ministry of Education was taken under debate and members added the following recommendations amid emphasizing on amending the proposal in a way that the ministry’s impartiality is protected throughout the process:
1. The Ministry shall outline a framework for the implementation of the recommendations to ensure the impartiality of its staff members, teachers and school principals;
2. The Ministry shall send an official letter to all schools and educational institutions urging them to maintain impartiality throughout the process;
3. Amercement for failure to maintain impartiality and in severe cases, expulsion from job will be decided by the Ministry.
The participants reviewed their previously drafted proposal on the regulation on voter registration to urge Independent Elections Commission (IEC) to take special measures for further strengthening women’s participation in elections and insisted on encouraging IEC to use simple language in its T.V and radio spots on elections. The group once again expressed its concerns on the lack of sufficient female staff in electoral sites across the country.
“IEC has recently stated that mobile teams will soon be deployed to districts and villages to get more people to register for elections. The mobile will need special security arrangement in order to effectively carry out the mission. Therefore we suggest the Ministry of Interior Affairs to ensure security for the teams and include the suggestion in the proposal drafted for MoI” said one of the members. The recommendation was motioned by the rest of the participants and was therefore included in the proposal.
Many female candidates in provincial councils’ elections were dissuaded in candidacy and the reasons are explicitly stated in FEFA reports of elections 2010 and 2009. The reports were shared with the participants and it was decided that 3 members of the group will keep in contact with the candidates and verify their cases based on a specific mechanism FEFA will develop. The members also agreed on having set up a bank account and collect contribution to financially help female candidates during the campaign period.
At the end of the session, it was decided to have the group divided into units where each will be responsible for regularly following up the proposals suggested previously by the group and setting up meetings with the relevant entities.