Update February 2007

01 Mar 2007

EUD News

Call for interns at EUD office during summer 2007

EUD is happy to welcome one or more interns during the summer period. If you are interested in this opportunity, please do not hesitate to send us your application letter and CV.

Please note that this is a voluntary internship. Unfortunately EUD has no budget to reimburse travel costs or accommodation costs.

The EUD office is located in Brussels, Belgium.

Applications can be send to Karin VAN PUYENBROECK, EUD Administrator: kvp@eudnet.org.

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EDF News

EDF policy statement on Community Living

Full inclusion and participation of disabled people in society is a human rights issue and the ultimate goal of the European disability movement. The European Disability Forum (EDF) believes that the transition from institutions for disabled people to high quality, community-based alternatives for everyone, where the choice of the disabled person himself or herself is the core of that concept, is indispensable to allow for such inclusion and participation. Therefore, the promotion of community living is a key priority for EDF.

EDF firmly believes that each individual has the right to live in dignity and to be respected for the person he or she is. Disabled people with diminished autonomy should have full recognition of their humanity and their right to impartial advocacy and support to ensure their access to all rights and freedoms. This is the basis for the realization of full citizenship and full inclusion in society.

These rights apply to all human beings, including disabled people. EDF demands that all disabled people should be protected from all forms of coercion and oppressive forms of living. Therefore, disabled people have the right to live included in society while enjoying the same human rights as every other citizen.

For more information, please contact Maria Nyman: maria.nyman@edf-feph.org

Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 04/07

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European Union News

Eurobarometer survey identifies disabled persons as one of the most disadvantaged group in society

The 2007 European Year for Equal Opportunities for All (EYEO), which officially started in Berlin on January 30th at the first ever Equality Summit, launched its new website and published the results of an EU survey on anti-discrimination. The survey - carried out in preparation for the European Year - reveals that over half of Europeans (51%) think that not enough is being done to fight discrimination in their country and a large majority of respondents also feel that discrimination is widespread (64%). Overall, the results confirm that Europeans are ready for change, with a broad majority in favour of adopting measures to promote equal opportunities for all in the field of employment.

Vladimír ŠPIDLA, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities said “The results of this survey send a clear message that Europeans think discrimination remains rife and they are ready for stronger measures to fight prejudice, intolerance and inequality. I am confident that the 2007 European Year for Equal Opportunities for All will spark a lively debate on diversity, giving a new impetus to tackling discrimination effectively."

The survey highlights that awareness of the existence of anti-discrimination laws (on grounds of sex, ethnic or racial origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief) is still relatively low in the EU - only one third of citizens claim to know their rights should they become victims of discrimination or harassment. That is why the main goals of the European Year will be to inform citizens of their right to non-discrimination and equal treatment, to promote equal opportunities for all and to celebrate the benefits of diversity. To reach out to citizens the campaign will be highly decentralised with hundreds of activities taking place locally, regionally and nationally. Activities include projects like diversity and working life awards for private and public companies making real efforts to fight discrimination; writing competitions in schools on the themes of respect and tolerance; training on anti-discrimination issues for the media.

The events will involve the people and organisations who have the biggest stake in its success. This includes trade unions, employers, NGOs, youth groups, organisations representing those facing unequal treatment and local and regional authorities. The Year 's decentralised approach will allow activities to continue beyond the EYEO creating a lasting impact on the ground.

Replies to the survey vary widely between Member States however the main message is that Europeans feel that discrimination is still widespread (64%) in their country and they are ready to change this. A broad majority of Europeans believe that being disabled (79%), being a Roma (77%) being over 50 (69%) or having a different ethnic origin (62%) is a disadvantage in their society.

When it comes to getting a job, disability and age are the two main factors which Europeans believe put people most at a disadvantage. Close to 8 out of 10 respondents feel that with equivalent qualifications, a person aged 50 or over stands less chance when it comes to employment or promotion compared with a person aged under 50, and similarly a disabled person compared with an able-bodied person.

The new EYEO website will be an important communication tool throughout the Year, providing up-to-date information on activities in which citizens can participate, acting as a source of inspiration for various activities and fostering networks. To ensure the Year 's long-term impact, the EU 's new programme for employment and solidarity called PROGRESS - to fund activities from 2007-2013 - will take up some of the best ideas generated during the European Year. New approaches, new ideas and a new impetus from the Year will help advance the EU 's efforts in the field of equality and non-discrimination.

For more information see:

Link to summary of Eurobarometer:


Link to EYEO website


Link to Berlin Equality summit


Source: EDF Weekly Flash 03/07

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Europe for All – a Stakeholder Conference on Accessible Tourism

A conference on accessible tourism was organised by the European Commission. The report is written by the chair of the Universal Access committee, Rudolph BRYNN.

Mokrane BOSSAID (EBU) made a presentation on behalf of EDF during the conference relating to transport and Maria NYMAN (EDF policy officer) spoke about the built environment.

The conference was organised by the Tourism Unit of the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry with the technical support of OSSATE and other stakeholders. The conference’s primary objective was to give best practices of accessible tourism and to raise awareness of all stakeholders about the impact and the business opportunities of the forthcoming process of demographic ageing that will simultaneously lead to a growing share of tourists with needs for more accessibility and higher service quality. There were four main themes:

  • Accessibility in transport
  • Information and Marketing on Accessibility
  • Accessibility within Training and Education
  • Accessible Infrastructure in Destinations
If you would like to receive by e-mail the report on accessible tourism, please contact Olivier Hirsch,olivier.hirsch@edf-feph.org

Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 04/07

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Call towards the Deaf Community regarding Accessible Tourism

Filip VERSTRAETE, President of Fevlado (Federation of Deaf Organisations) also attended the above conference.

He said: “As you will notice a lot of speakers from different institutions attended the conference. Also persons representing an EU institution were present.

The lectures were at times quite important and interesting.

However, it struck me that the vast majority of the examples concerning accessibility in the Tourist sector and the Public Transportation sector are related to persons with a physical disability. Examples related to accessibility for deaf persons are not a part of the lecture topics.

During the break I had the chance to talk to the president/coordinator of Enat (European Network for Accessible Tourism). He was very pleased that a member of a Deaf federation was attending the conference. He also expressed his believe that it is very important that the federations of the Deaf also participate in constructing an Accessible Tourism Policy at the European level.

Fevlado is a member of Enat, the membership is free. Personally I believe it is necessary that EUD also becomes a member of Enat, since the organisation is situated at the European level. More information can be found at www.accessibletourism.org , you can also contact Mr Amborsa at ia@eworx.gr

Source: Filip VERSTRAETE

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50th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty - Barroso unveils his Ideas for the Berlin Declaration

European Commission president BARROSO presented his ideas for the EU declaration on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the treaty of Rome in March this year to the MEPs. He stated that the declaration should look ahead to the next 50 years and that it presented a significant step in the EU 's history, comparing it to the vision of the founding fathers of the union, Jean MONNET and Robert SCHUMAN.

BARROSO outlined five points that the statement should address:

  • Solidarity: An enlarged and open Europe requires greater cohesion - social cohesion as well as economic.
  • Sustainability: The fight against climate change, through energy and other policies, should be a defining mission for Europe 's future.
  • Accountability: Transparency and access to information should become not only rights for European citizens but also obligations for Europe 's institutions.
  • Security: Europe must guarantee the security of its citizens whilst preserving fundamental freedoms.
  • Promotion of Europe 's values in the world: Sustainability, accountability, solidarity, security cannot, indeed must not stop at Europe 's borders.

German chancellor MERKEL declared her support for BARROSO’S ideas for the declaration. BARROSO also said that the Council, the Commission and the Parliament should all be involved in the elaboration of the statement. He did though not say how concretely this involvement would look like.

Read an article on the issue here: http://euobserver.com/9/23288/?rk=1

Read on the EP website on Barroso’s speech:


Source: Social Platform Newsletter

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New website for European Year of Equal Opportunities for All

A new website for the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All is now online. It includes information on the themes and objectives of the Year, and a wealth of practical information on how the Year will be organised.

For those who want to get involved, the site provides contact details of the National Implementing Bodies. These organisations can provide official endorsement for events and activities (‘moral support’) and the right to use the Year’s logo.

The website is accessible on the following link


Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 04/07

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Deaf News around Europe and the World

The 15th World Congress of the WFD opens the door to 50 million potential customers of companies

The Organising Committee of the 15 th World Congress of the WFD has everything arranged to host a great universal craftwork exhibition made by individuals, companies and deaf organisations from all over the world.

On the one hand, the great exhibition of the 15 th World Congress of the WFD will serve as a space for interchange among craftspeople, companies and the associative network. This way, its different products and services can become more familiar with the needs and tastes of deaf people worldwide.

On the other hand, people attending the 15 th World Congress of the WFD may get first-hand knowledge about different craftwork examples, as well as about the most recent products and services specifically developed by companies for the deaf market. Therefore, it is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and companies to offer their products to more than 50 million potential customers who will be represented in this world congress by their respective delegates.

In addition, the Organising Committee is making a great effort so that all sectors of international deaf craftsmanship can be represented at the exhibition -from small samples of products to deaf-friendly items and instruments created by the big multinational companies.

All those people and companies interested in exhibiting their works of art, products or services, can do so by checking the requirements under the link Exhibition the Congress webpage:http://www.wfdcongress.org

Source: CNSE Press release

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More than 30 theatre groups apply for participation in the 15th World Congress of the WFD

More than 30 theatre groups from all over the world have already sent the Organising Committee of the 15 th World Congress of the WFD their applications to take part in the greatest display of signing drama ever held.

This great event of deaf culture to be held in Madrid from 16 th to 22 nd July of the current year will count on the participation of deaf representatives from the five continents and, of course, from Spain. The theatre programme, which is now being prepared, will offer all Congress attendees the best Deaf theatre plays, while it showcases the cultural diversity sprouting among deaf artists and actors worldwide.

The plays to be staged in this great deaf culture festival deal with the problems faced by the deaf community in all corners of the world, and they will be doing so by tackling different realities such as the cultural and specific situation in each of these countries.

The great deaf culture party will begin on 16 th July in the evening, that is to say, on the inauguration day. We will enjoy a gorgeous theatre play performed by an important Spanish deaf theatre group. Audience will be amazed at its strength and expressive force.

Likewise, during the days of the 15 th World Congress of the WFD a theatre play will be performed by the main deaf actors of the international panorama. All performances will be conducted in International Sign.

Source: CNSE Press release

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Don MacKAY will be the keynote speaker of the 15th World Congress of the WFD

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which acknowledges the right to use sign languages and supports the recognition of Deaf culture and identity, will be a central subject in the 15th  World Congress of the WFD to be held in Madrid. It will so because the Congress keynote presenter will precisely be  HE Don MacKAY, a person of wide international renown and closely linked to this Convention.

HE Don MacKAY has collaborated with the United Nations in drafting the Universal Convention of Human Rights for People with Disabilities. He is the New Zealand Ambassador to the UN and a person very linked to the Deaf community, because he is well acquainted with the reality and needs of this collective group at world level.

Deaf attendees will enjoy first-hand comprehensive information about the articles which specifically refer to deaf people and which secure a radical change in international organisations' perspective on the Deaf community.

In Canada, deaf signing is done in American Sign Language or la Langue des Sourds du Quebec.

While the change is a welcome breakthrough for the deaf, it does mean a heavy drain on the public purse. Ottawa should make a goodwill effort to comply, but at the same time, it should be prudent with public funds.

For instance, there would appear to be no need for all government offices to have interpreting staff on hand on a full-time basis. Arrangements should be made to have interpreters on standby.

The deaf in Canada number 300,000, or about one per cent of the population. They have had a long wait, but at last they are about to become more fully a part of our national family.

Source: CNSE Press release

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Other News


SignmarkEuropean music scene has got a new star from the faraway north: SIGNMARK from Finland. This dude has got the attitude and style so unique no one can beat him! The secret of his success is Sign Language. The band is formed by Signmark, DJ sulava and MC mahtotapa. The leader figure, Signmark himself is born Deaf and sings with his hands. MC mahtotapa is a hearing singer who sings out loud the songs.

Signmark chose bass-filled hip hop as his genre, because for the Deaf bass tones are the most natural way to experience music. They don’t have to hear it. They can feel it.

The debut album consists eight songs. What makes it so special? The songs are in two forms: audio (music) and visual (videos). Music can be heard on the CD and the videos can be seen on the DVD. This way Signmark can entertain both Deaf and hearing audience! The songs are mostly in Finnish and Finnish Sign Language, but one song is completely in English, featuring the famous Finnish hip hop artist Brandon and signed in American Sign Language. For international audience it won’t be a problem to follow the music: on the DVD extra section you can find English translation for the songs!

The Finnish media has been very interested in this sensational new artist: most national TV channels have interviewed him, newspapers and magazines have published articles about him and the debut album has been praised by the reviewers. It has been chosen as The Album of the Week by the popular Finnish radio channel YleX. Also MTV Nordic has paid attention to the band. To put it simply: man, this guy is HOT!

For further information, please visit: www.signmark.biz

Source: Press release by Signmark

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Frontrunners III

Frontrunners, a Deaf International Youth Leadership Training Programme -with focus on International Project Management, is taking the effort that each individual has the ability of paving the way to better conditions for the Deaf people, in their country and also worldwide. Frontrunners will also illustrate the importance of World Federation of the Deaf (WFD – equivalent to United Nations), it’s important for us that the participants through the Frontrunners, in time will be able act as role models for the present Deaf generation, and also generations to come.

Wanna change the world? www.frontrunners.dk

You can visit the Frontrunners website at www.frontrunners.dk.

For questions, contact fv@cbg.dk or ov@cbg.dk

Source: Frontrunners

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