Outsider groups ‘indifferent’ to Indonesian presidential election

Outsider groups ‘indifferent’ to Indonesian presidential election

Some marginalised groups in Bandung, West Java, have said they will opt out of voting in the upcoming presidential election on July 9.

Suhendar, head of the Wyata Guna Bandung Alumni Association, an alumni association for a social institution for the visually challenged, said neither ticket had shown concern for the rights of the disabled.

"This is not about ideology, but more about the issue of rights. We believe that not participating is a form of participation," he said.

Suhendar made his remarks during a discussion themed "Marginalized Communities in the 2014 Presidential Election" at the office of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Bandung on Friday evening.

He cited the recent legislative election, where Braille ballots were not available for the visually challenged, resulting in them having to receive voting assistance.

"Braille ballots and the template are now available [for the election], but no candidate supports our right to be independent. Why should we bother to cast our votes?" Suhendar said.

Ayu, an activist with transgender community Srikandi Pasundan, said the General Elections Commission (KPU) never touched on transgender issues during the familiarization programs for the election.

"We have never heard a vision and mission statement related to the struggles of our community," she said.

Negative stigma and discrimination against transgender people, she said, were still big issues, especially with regard to employment. She said it was hard for the public to acknowledge transgender people without judging their appearance.

Karmala Wardhani from Rumah Cemara, a community that assists people living with HIV/AIDS and drugs, echoed her sentiments, saying that members were not enthusiastic about the election because the central government had failed to help them overcome work-related obstacles.

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