Update May 2007

01 Jun 2007

EUD News

EUD President attends International Conference “The Linguistic Rights of the Deaf: State Support, Research and Use of Sign Language”, in Russia


Meeting with Mr. Sergey Mironov, Chairman of Council of Federation 
of Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

Xenia Morfopoulos, Representative of the All- Russian Society of the Deaf in the US, Vadim Ivanchenko, Head of Department of International Affairs of the All- Russian Society of the Deaf, Valery Rukhledev, President of the All- Russian Society of the Deaf, Sergey Mironov, Chairman of Council of Federation of Federal Assemble (Parliament) of the Russian Federation, Markku Jokinen, President of the WFD, Helga Stevens, President of EUD, Elizabeth Scott-Gibson, President of the WASLI, Thorsten Afflerbach, Council of Europe

Mr. Sergey MIRONOV, Chairman of Council of Federation has met the Participants of the International Conference "The Linguistic Rights of the Deaf: State Support, Research and Use of Sign Language".

The International Deaf Community was represented by Mr. Markku JOKINEN, President of the World Federation of the Deaf, Ms. Helga STEVENS, President of the European Union of the Deaf, Mr. Thorsten AFFLERBACH, Head Division of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, Directorate General III - Social Cohesion, Council of Europe, Ms. Elizabeth SCOTT-GIBSON, President of World Association of Sign Language Interpreters, Mr. Valery RUKHLEDEV, President of the All- Russian Society of the Deaf and Mr. Alexander GORELIK, Director of the UN Information Centre in Moscow.

The participants of the Conference informed Sergey MIRONOV about the results of the Conference "The Linguistic Rights of the Deaf: State Support, Research and Use of Sign Language" in Moscow. Central topic of the Conference was the problem of state support for Sign Language. The President of the World Federation of the Deaf Mr. Markku JOKINEN expressed his hope for prompt ratification of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Russian Federation.

Sergey MIRONOV declared that the Council of the Federation already pays large attention to problems of Persons with Disabilities, including, problems of the Deaf. 15 June 2007 the UN Information Centre in Moscow together with the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation will organize a Seminar "Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Access to E-means of the communications".

A Commission on Persons with Disabilities works for the Chairman of the Council. A concrete example of obtained results is the use of subtitling during the New Year’s Greeting of the President on TV.

"As in many countries, the problem of Sign Language in Russia yet is not decided. According to the legislation, it is a language of interpersonal communication, but we consider that it is necessary to give it state status", - said Mr. MIRONOV.

At the end of the meeting, Sergey MIRONOV has expressed his confidence in the legislators of the Russian Federation, they will use their best efforts for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and introduction all of its rules to life.

Source: Press release by All- Russian Society of the Deaf

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EUD Director attended the Bodenseeländertagung 2007 in Munich

Mark WHEATLEY attended Bodenseeländertagung conference at Munich during April. He gave a talk about the history of Sign Language, from Milan in 1880 to present day. The point of the presentation was to make the audience aware of the rich heritage of the sign language which stood up to oppressions throughout the history from Oralism to Cochlear Implantation. And to eventual legal recognition in various European countries. He also added the cultural importance of self awareness of Deaf children especially going through educational progress. His presentation was received very well by the audience.

You can see clips of his presentation and interview by clicking on http://www.spectrum11.de (click on MUNCHEN GLIVE and then click on BOTA - Bodenseeländertagung 02. Wait for few minutes as he will appear after the interview)

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Reports from the EUD seminar on Equal Opportunities and the EUD workshop

The EUD seminar and General Assembly 2007 in Berlin, Germany were a great success.

In total 29 countries gathered for the EUD events.

EUD wants to thank the Deutscher Gehörlosen-bund and especially the volunteers from the Berlin Deaf Association for their valuable support!

Seminar and workshop reports, as well as pictures will be available on the EUD homepage soon.

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EDF News

“1million4disability” Campaign

The objective of the campaign is to collect at least 1 000 000 signatures to combat discrimination in all aspects of the lives of disabled citizens in Europe.

Why a million? The European Union cannot ignore the call of at least 1 million citizens.  A provision based on this principle was even stated in the draft European Union Constitutional Treaty.

We want to take the opportunity of EDF 10 th anniversary, not to blow on 10 candles, but to blow out disability discrimination in Europe. It is a unique opportunity we all have to act in favour of a comprehensive EU legislation to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities.

How can I join the movement and sign the petition?

Since the campaign has started, the official website www.1million4disability.eu offers the opportunity to collect every single signature.

The website has been especially designed to be as accessible as possible to allow a wider public to sign very easily.

Thanks to all National Disability Councils, all campaign material and the SIGN page of the website are available in all EU languages, by simply clicking on your national flag.

A signature form is also available on the website in every language on the following link;http://www.1million4disability.eu/materials.asp?langue=EN. Each page can contain 10 names and signatures. You can download this form, print it, let your contacts sign it and send it back to EDF Secretariat by fax or regular mail. Please avoid returning the form with one or two signatures and make sure to have collected as many signatures as possible.

Ask your friends, your family, your colleagues, and your neighbourhood to sign. The aim of this petition is not to collect money nor to gather subscriptions but it is a tool for the recognition of disabled persons as equal citizens.

Source: EDF Campaign Flash

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European Union News

Television Without Frontiers – Last updates on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a revision of the so-called TV without Frontiers Directive. In December 2006, the European Parliament adopted its report in first reading, which contained some amendments advancing accessibility of audiovisual media services to persons with visual and hearing disabilities, and prohibiting disability-based discrimination in advertising.

Since January 2007, some negotiations have taken place at Council level. Until April, the information gathered at Council level indicated that Member States did not support the inclusion of accessibility in the text of the directive.  Instead, the intention of the Council was to include this topic in the Directive's preamble, as a declaration of intention but taking away evidently all binding character.  The arguments put forward referred to the excessive costs that this type of accessible services could involve.

Nevertheless, the latest Council text includes accessibility.  More concretely in article 3, with the following wording:

“Member States shall encourage media service providers under their jurisdiction to ensure that their services are gradually made accessible to people with a visual or hearing disability.”

Although wording ‘to encourage’ is substantially weaker that the originally proposed ‘to take appropriate measures ’, it is an important step forward. The wording can be seen as clear progress as far as political awareness is concerned.  On the other hand, the debate has moved to identifying who will bear the costs as this is an aspect of the debate that had to come up inevitably at some point. The Council uses again the concrete mention to people with visual or auditory disabilities, and not the more open and inclusive reference to ‘all people with disabilities and older people’ put forward by EBU and EDF.

The current text is the final compromise presented by the German Presidency based on these discussions with the Parliamentary rapporteurs.  This text has been accepted orally in the Council at COREPER level in its meeting of 2 May and it is hoped that it will formalized as a political agreement of the Council of Telecommunications Ministers on 24 May. This text would be adopted in June or July, without any changes in its contents, as a common Council position.

Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 14/2007

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New leaflet on European Commission PROGRESS programme

The PROGRESS programme took over the baton from the Community Action Programme to combat discrimination at the beginning of this year. The programme also integrates four other policy strands including gender equality.

A new 12-page information leaflet sets out how PROGRESS will rationalise and streamline EU funding across these policy areas over the next seven years. The aim is to support EU Member States address the considerable challenges Europe faces in employment and social affairs.

To download the leaflet, click on the following link:


Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 12/2007

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European Commission publishes mainstreaming study

The Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services, on behalf of the European Commission, has produced a new study: ‘Non-discrimination mainstreaming - instruments, case studies and ways forward’.

The report defines ‘non-discrimination mainstreaming’ as putting equality concerns into all public policies, legislation and programmes. This means equality must be considered at all stages of decision-making.

The publication reviews the case for equality mainstreaming and the factors critical to its success. It also highlights a wide range of approaches and case studies at both European and national levels.

The study is available on the following link:


Source: EDF Weekly Flash 15/2007

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Deaf News around Europe and the World

Deaf students across the globe to benefit from new international centre for sign language and Deaf studies

A new international centre in deaf studies has been opened at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston, UK. The International Centre for Sign Language and Deaf Studies (iSLanDS) will conduct research to document many global sign languages for the first time, as well as develop taught programmes to provide deaf students in developing countries with the same higher education opportunities as the UK deaf students it will engage with.

In a ceremony to mark the opening of iSLanDS, Vice-President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Feliciano SOLA LIMIA gave a keynote speech highlighting the Centre’s potential to inform government policy on deaf issues and deaf education in Britain and beyond. The international scope of iSLanDS will enable it to conduct systematic comparisons of the world’s sign languages; most of which have not yet been documented in any detail. This will help the Centre to both gain unique perspectives on regional deaf issues, and to provide Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in Sign Language linguistics which are informed by the variations in communication methods among deaf people in different countries.

For more information: http://www.uclan.ac.uk/news/2007/web009.html

Source: www.wfdeaf.org

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WFD Awarded in Russia

On the International Conference "The Linguistic Rights of the Deaf: State Support, Research and Use of Sign Language" Mr. Markku JOKINEN, President of the World Federation of the Deaf and Dr. Liisa KAUPPINEN, President Emeritus of the World Federation of the Deaf were awarded high awards by the All- Russian Society of the Deaf.

Mr. Markku JOKINEN was decorated with an award “For Special Merits – 1 st degree” for his outstanding personal contribution to resolve the problems of social rehabilitation of the Deaf, and for his merits in the field of the international cooperation and development of partnership between the World Federation of the Deaf and the All- Russian Society of the Deaf, as well as in the development of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The high rank "Honorable Member of the All- Russian Society of the Deaf" for Dr. Liisa KAUPPINEN, WFD President Emeritus was simultaneously granted. Dr. KAUPPINEN could not attend the Conference; this award has accepted Mr. JOKINEN.

Press release by All- Russian Society of the Deaf

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Outstanding International Signing Theatre groups come to the 15th World Congress of the WFD

The five signing theatre groups that will take part in the Cultural Programme of the 15 th World Congress of the WFD are selected. Their performances will be held on July 16, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

The Festival will begin on July 16 th afternoon, with the performance of El Grito, one of the most consolidated Spanish Deaf Theatre companies. IFEMA will be the venue of the performance, and every Congress attendee will enjoy free admission.

The International Deaf Theatre Festival will begin on July 18 th in the Círculo de Bellas Artes Theatre, with the performance of Teater Manu. Teater Manu is a Norwegian avant-garde theatre group that has been looking for new forms of deaf artistic expressions. At the moment they are recreating Fausto in several world stages.

Uganda Silent Theatre will be the main protagonist on July 19 th; it is also a veteran group that has carried out the magic of signing theatre to the stages of the entire world, and which focuses its performances in issues such as marginalization, social exclusion and developing countries’ problems.

On July 20th the stage will be booked for Theatre of Silence, the group from Hong Kong. North American Press has praised and emphasized the work of this Chinese group of artists that has recently performed in San Francisco. Critics have defined them as a perfect mixture of Chinese opera and a good dose of work and authenticity.

The Closure of the international Theatre Festival will be on July 21 st, and the Brazilian theatre group TSB will be the responsible of it. The Brazilian racial and cultural fusion will be the perfect closing for the audience who comes to watch this company play. Their expressive strength and a great capacity to combine sign language and the tropical colour are their main features.

Source: Press release by organisers

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Other News

Council of Europe - Action Plan on Persons with Disabilities

The European Coordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan (CAHPAH) had its first meeting on 26-27 April in Strasbourg. This Forum is composed of the Member States of the Council of Europe, and meets annually with the task to review progress and exchange good practices on the implementation of the action plan which will run until the year 2015.

The Council of Europe Action Plan is a very comprehensive document, consisting of an outline of rights, which are in general quite consistent with the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and practical action lines to implement them.

For further information, please click here!

It can be used as a practical tool to develop implementation of those rights under the Convention that will need progressive realization.

The action plan is to be implemented by all 46 members of the Council of Europe, although there are no binding tools to ensure its effective implementation.

The CAHPAH first meeting was mainly dedicated to procedural issues, but there was hardly any discussion on content or relevant information on the situation in the different member States. In addition to representatives from 36 countries, 24 from the European Union, several representatives of the Council of Europe steering committees on human rights, legal affairs, social cohesion, health, education, culture, as well as the Committee on the Partial Agreement on rehabilitation and integration of persons with disabilities were also present. In addition the Parliamentary Assembly and the development bank of the Council of Europe were also represented. Furthermore the International Conference of NGOs also nominated two representatives: Marie-Josée SCHMITT of Action Européenne Handicap, member of EDF, and the Director of the European Association of Service Providers for people with disabilities. Finally also the European Commission and several UN agencies were present.

After a lengthy discussion, on whether a reporting system should be established, it was agreed that a dedicated section of the Council of Europe website will include reports from member States on the situation of disabled people in their countries, and national action plans. If a country does not have an action plan or reports, a report of maximum 10 pages following the structure of the Council of Europe Action Plan will have to be prepared and sent. Also EDF, in cooperation with its members will have the possibility to send ‘shadow reports’, as well as resources from international organizations will be included.

Another important decision was the transfer of resources and staff from the budget of the Partial Agreement on disability to the General budget, which means that these resources will indeed be dedicated to the support to the implementation of the Action Plan.

There were also offers from various steering committees of the Council of Europe to mainstream relevant section of the action plan into their work.

Source: EDF Weekly Flash 13/2007

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Report on 3G & Mobile Video-telephony

The possibility of using sign language in video calls using 3G telephony affords deaf people a completely new opportunity for mobile communication. Previously, deaf people had to use SMS, a form of communication that is both time-consuming and unreliable.

The Swedish Handicap Institute, National Post & Telecoms Agency and The Swedish Consumers Association have recently carried out testing on how well video calls using modern 3G telephones function for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people. 

The report is accessible in PDF format and can be requested at the following e-mail address:christina.everett@anec.eu

Source: EDF Weekly Flash 13/2007

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The theme for this year’s International Day of Families is “Families and Persons with Disabilities”

For many persons with disabilities, their family has been, and remains, a source of empowerment. For others, however, their family has perhaps been overprotective, restricting their growth as individuals. Tragically, for others still, their family has viewed them with stigma or shame, and has even become a source of abuse and neglect.

In December 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty of the 21 st century. In its preamble, the Convention reconfirms that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the State. It also states that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive protection and assistance so that families can contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities.

In Article 23 of the Convention, Governments agreed to protect persons with disabilities against discrimination in matters relating to marriage, relationships and the family. They also agreed to ensure the equal rights of children with disabilities with respect to family life, and to ensure that children with disabilities are not separated from their families against their will except when necessary for the best interests of the child. Should the immediate family be unable to care for a child with disabilities, Governments agreed to undertake every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family or, failing that, within the community in a family setting.

Society has a responsibility to persons with disabilities and their families. On this International Day of Families, let us dedicate ourselves to enabling the family, the most basic unit of society, to fulfil its role in ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy full human rights and dignity, and flourish as individuals.

More information on the following link: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family/idf2007.htm

Source: United Nations

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UK DEAF CHILDREN: Small Grants Programme opens [funding]

Round 6 of the International Deaf Children's Society Small Grants Programme (SGP) has opened on 1 March 2007.

SGP offers grants of up to £10,000 for projects that offer measurable and sustainable improvements to the individual lives of deaf children and their families. This could be through:

  • a) empowering deaf children, young deaf people and their families by bringing them together to discuss common issues and advocate for the improvement of services; or
  • b) developing or improving services which empower deaf children, young deaf people and/or their families in the areas of early years support,
    education, emotional and social development, vocational training and youth programmes

All projects must include activities which are either led by parents or young deaf people or which work towards the full participation of parents or young people.

If your organisation is registered in one of the SGP eligible countries and can demonstrate that it has the capacity to manage the grant funds then you could apply to Round 6 of SGP.

Applications are only accepted if they are in the SGP Concept Note Format and they must be submitted before 31 June 2007. The following documents can be downloaded in English, Spanish and Portuguese from: http://www.idcs.info/sgp/useful_documents/index.html

  • The background information leaflet contains details of the full eligibility criteria
  • The list of eligible countries
  • The Guidance on applying to SGP
  • The Concept Note Format

The IDCS can correspond with applicants in English, French and Spanish but Concept Notes may only be submitted in English. Please note that you may apply for translation costs as part of your grant.

If you have problems accessing the internet or downloading the documents, please e-mail the IDCS at idcs@idcs.info and we will send you the documents by e-mail, fax or post.

The deadline for concept note submissions will be 31 June 2007 and they would expect projects to start no sooner than January 2008.

Visit: http://www.crin.org/resources/infodetail.asp?id=12664

For more information, contac:

Marc FAUX 
Email: idcs@idcs.info
Website: http://www.idcs.info

Source: EDF Campaign Flash

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