U.S. Ambassador Scott Meets Long-Time Disability Movement Activist

U.S. Ambassador Scott Meets Long-Time Disability Movement Activist
Ambassador Scott, USAID Mission Director Azza El-Abd, with representatives of CILS.
USAID Serbia

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On May 10, 2016, Ambassador Kyle Randolph Scott met with Ms. Gordana Rajkov, President of the Center for Independent Living (CIL) Serbia and long-time disability movement activist, to discuss voters with disabilities’ participation in the April 2016 Serbian elections.  Last month’s election was the first time Serbia collected data about the accessibility of polling stations for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). 

According to the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) observers, only 41% of polling stations were accessible to PWDs, who constitute 11% of the Serbian population.  During the meeting, Ms. Rajkov thanked the Ambassador for the support the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided to CIL, which seeks to increase PWD’s participation in the legislative, electoral and policy processes at the local and national level. 

At the national level, the CIL has contributed to the establishment of a disability caucus group in the Serbian Parliament; drafted amendments and additional inputs for Instructions on elections that were adopted in part by the Republic Election Commission; provided guides on accessible polling stations for political parties, advertising agencies, and PWDs; and CIL project partner National Organization of Disabled People signed protocols on cooperation in regard to disability rights with seven political parties (SNS, SPS, SDS, DS, PS, NS and SDPS)

Ambassador Scott emphasized that making polling stations accessible to all is important for every democracy.  “While our contexts are different, it is crucial for both the United States and Serbia to continue to create a more accessible and inclusive society for people with disabilities,” said Ambassador Scott.