Lebanese elections: Monitors report violations on disabled voters
Welcome to The New Arab's coverage of Lebanon's General Election 2022 held on May 15, 2022. Follow live updates, results, analyses, and opinion in our special hub here.
Election monitors have reported violations of disabled voters' rights in polling stations across Lebanon, with the European Union saying two-thirds of polling stations were inaccessible for those with limited mobility.
Lebanon, despite the existence of a rights law for disabled people, has consistently failed to make its elections inclusive.
The previous election in 2018 was marred with violations. A disability advocate later sued the state for not fulfilling its obligations after she was carried up the stairs to her polling location.
"There is some implementation of what the Ministry of Interior said they would do, but there is also many violations. There are many more bad stories [than good]," Sylvana Lakkis, the President of the Lebanese Union for People with Physical Disabilities and Chairwoman of the Arab Forum for the Rights of People with Disabilities, told The New Arab.
Lakkis had coordinated with the Ministry of Interior and municipalities prior to the elections to make polling stations more accessible. The Ministry had agreed to use the ground floor for polling stations and set up ramps and tents, but Lakkis said many of these plans were ultimately not honoured.
Some polling places refused to set up tents for voters to vote on the ground floor, forcing disabled voters to be carried up the stairs once again. In addition, some locations did not have working elevators or did not bring down materials to accessible locations to ensure voting could run smoothly.
There were also more than 200 volunteers deployed to monitor if polling stations were implementing these plans, if disabled people could vote independently, or if they were being subject to intimidation.
Up until the time of publishing, voting was proceeding throughout Lebanon though reports of electoral violations were frequent.
Videos of voters scuffling at polling stations throughout the country circulated on social media and independent monitors reported hindering of media and electoral observers' access to voting centres.