Update October 2007

01 Nov 2007

EUD Members News

Døves Jul reaches out to all elementary schools

This year Døves Jul is more than just a Christmas magazine. Editor Louise Theil FREDERIKSEN has worked on the idea to send Døves Jul to all 5 th and 6 th grades in all elementary schools in Denmark.

“My idea was that pupils and teachers in the 5 th and 6 th grades could earn some money for school camps, parties etc. by selling Døves Jul. The classes are also able to order a set of information about deaf people and Sign Language for educational purpose. The idea is that the pupils could arrange project days about deaf and Sign Language, combined with selling Døves Jul and thereby earn money and support a good cause”.

The set contains a brochure that informs the teacher how to teach the children about deaf and Sign Language. The class also receives a special poster with the manual alphabet to set up in the class room. The class also receives a set of questions which the pupils can work with in groups. And finally the classes also have the possibility of a visit from a consultant – a deaf – who visits the class and tells about being deaf and teaches the children some signs:

“There is no doubt the big trump card of the information is the consultant. At the moment I am working on gathering a corps of “information officers” or consultants who are interested in visiting a class and tell about being deaf. It could be relatives to deaf who wants to visit the class. I would prefer if the consultant could visit a school nearby their own home town. They will receive a fee of DKK 300 for one hour.”

If you need further information, you can contact Louise Theil Frederiksen by mail: lt@deaf.dk


  • Døves Jul is a magazine which is sold in the streets for DKK 30 – a salesman earns DKK 9 and the rest goes to Danish Deaf Association.
  • Døves Jul is for hearing people and contains articles about Sign Language and deaf people.
  • Døves Jul was sold for the first time in 1955.
  • Louise Theil Frederiksen is the editor of this years´ edition.
  • Døves Jul is published in 20,000 copies.

Source: DDL (Danish Deaf Association)

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Reminder: EUD/SINOSZ International Conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities

The EUD/SINOSZ International Conference December is only some months away and will be an other important step on the road to an equal world where people with disabilities will be recognized as equal members of society that have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the community.

The EUD/SINOSZ International Conference will be held in Budapest, Hungary on 7th December 2007.

The Conference main focus will be on the public awareness and knowledge of the UN Convention and its Optional Protocol, which is one of the key elements and which is necessary for every advocate, every person with a disability, every policy maker, institution or international organization.

Since the opening for signatures on 30 March 2007, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has quickly gathered support from Member States. The 101 signatories to the treaty so far include 56 countries that have also signed the Optional Protocol. The Convention will enter into force 30 days after the 20th country ratifies the treaty, but so far only Jamaica and Hungaryhave taken the step of ratification.

The UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities estimates that the next 18 ratifications could be reached by as early as the end of this year.

It is time now for us, EUD members, to work towards the implementation of the Convention in countries around the world, with a special focus on the EUD countries.

It just takes a minute, so register now!  To register, please contact Dalma Földes viahttp://www.sinosz.hu/ftp/dokumentumok/_jubileum/regform_english.doc.

FYI, the invitation and preliminary programme are available onhttp://www.sinosz.hu/ftp/dokumentumok/_jubileum/invitation_english.pdf;http://www.sinosz.hu/ftp/dokumentumok/_jubileum/conference_program_english.pdf

The International Conference is a unique and important opportunity for all members to share ideas, to strengthen and to build the cohesion among members through personal meetings, social activities, common thinking and planning in all areas.

I am sure that your experiences and knowledge would largely contribute to the success of the EUD conference.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in Budapest.

We are working together for an equal tomorrow, today!

Dalma Földes

SINOSZ International relation

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EUD News

EDF Demonstration

On 4 October 2007, Mark WHEATLEY attended the massive and festive outdoor EDF gathering which took place in Brussels, Belgium. More than 2000 people attended this festive, multicultural and colourful event to stand for the rights of disabled people. There were delegations of deaf people from 10 European countries attending the event.

Next to the podium, a van containing the boxes of more than 1,200,000 signatures were ready to be handed over to the EU leaders. Thousands of balloons were released carrying the campaign slogan: WE ACT TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW.

Various Belgian authorities, artists, NGOs, Members of the European Parliament attended the event in support of the European Disability Forum's campaign. Hans-Gert PÖTTERING, President of the European Parliament addressed the participants, as well as Margot WALSTRÖM, Vice-President of the European Commission, to whom were handed over the signatures.

Please read also the open letter from EDF President VARDAKASTANIS under the header EDF news.

EDF Demonstration

EDF Demonstration

(left to right) Maria BENKOVA, President of NAD Slovak Republic, Mark WHEATLEY, Sign Language Interpreter, Constantinos GARGALIS, President of NAD Greece and Mihail GRECU, President of NAD Romania

(left to right) Maria BENKOVA, President of NAD Slovak Republic, Mark WHEATLEY, Sign Language Interpreter, Constantinos GARGALIS, President of NAD Greece and Mihail GRECU, President of NAD Romania

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Mark WHEATLEY attended the European Disability Forum's Annual General Assembly as a delegate. Took part in discussion about EDF’s three year plan and also the implications of Belgian Law regarding to NGO's. Also took part in the elections of new members of the Executive Committee of the EDF. It was an interesting experience for Mark to meet other delegates representing various disability NGO's and also discussed about potential working relationships which will strengthen EUD’s future campaigns in Europe.

Mark WHEATLEY at EDF AGA (European Parliament)

Mark WHEATLEY at EDF AGA (European Parliament)

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London Disability Capital Conference

Disability Capital 2007, the Mayor of London's Deaf and disability equality conference, was one of the UK's biggest and most important strategic and policy conferences and was focused on ‘ London, the equal city’. The programme featured debate and discussion about rights and equality - including discrimination law, legal recognition of BSL, the diverse history of disabled and Deaf Londoners, a right to independent living and eugenics and genetic rights. Delegates had the opportunity to find out more about disability and Deaf equality in London and engaged with Mayoral policies and strategies. Mark WHEATLEY made a presentation about the legal situation regarding to the recognition of Sign Language across Europe. It was informative to the audience whom are actively campaigning for the legal recognition of British Sign Language.

Mark WHEATLEY giving a talk about Sign Language

Mark WHEATLEY giving a talk about Sign Language

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89 th WFD Board Meeting

Mark WHEATLEY attended 89th WFD Board Meeting at Castberggård, Denmark during October. The meeting lasted three days as there were a lot of issues that needed to be discussed and approved. It was good experience for both members of WFD and EUD to work together and learn about future projects to avoid duplication. And WFD welcomed new board members: Johan WESEMANN, Wilma NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN and Deborah IYUTE. Also met and discussed with the members of Frontrunners (Youth Leadership Programme)

WFD Board Meeting in action

WFD Board Meeting in action

(left to right) Dr. Liisa KAUPPINEN, Thomas HEDBERG, Wilma NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN, Colin ALLEN, Markku JOKINEN, Mark WHEATLEY, Dr. Joe MURRAY, Knud SØNDERGAARD, Hanne Berne KVITVAER, Deborah IYUTE and Juan Angel De GOUVEIA

(left to right) Dr. Liisa KAUPPINEN, Thomas HEDBERG, Wilma NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN, Johan WESEMANN, Colin ALLEN, Markku JOKINEN, Mark WHEATLEY, Dr. Joe MURRAY, Knud SØNDERGAARD, Hanne Berne KVITVAER, Deborah IYUTE and Juan Angel De GOUVEIA

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Nordic Council of the Deaf: 100 years Conference


Mark WHEATLEY attended the DNR Conference at Copenhagen, Denmark. Lars Åke WIKSTRÖM, President of the Nordic Council of the Deaf opened the conference. Dr. Liisa KAUPPINEN, Finland gave a talk about “Why is recognition of Sign Language so important to Deaf People?”

Peter NIEMELÄ, Chairman of Deaf Historic Society spoke about “Nordic Deaf People for 100 Years” and also showed film clips of previous conferences.

There was a discussion about"Tendencies in the education of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth in the Nordic countries." by Svend Erik HANSEN, Headmaster of Fredericiaskolen, Denmark, Greger BǺǺTH, Director General of Specialskolemyndigheten, Sweden and Paal Richard PETERSON, Director of Norway Association of the Deaf.

(left to right) Colin ALLEN, Mark WHEATLEY, Berglind STEFANSDOTTIR, Johan WESEMANN and Deborah IYUTE

(left to right) Colin ALLEN, Mark WHEATLEY, Berglind STEFANSDOTTIR, Johan WESEMANN and Deborah IYUTE


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New EUD Administrator

Johan VerstraeteEUD would like to announce that Johan VERSTRAETE is now working for EUD as an Interim Administrator. Originally from Belgium, he attended Gallaudet University and Hawaii at Manoa University. Apart from administrative duties, he will be responsible for preparing EUD documentations for publications.

Former EUD Administrator Karin VAN PUYENBROECK, who has worked for almost four years for EUD, has left the EUD office to start a new job beginning of September. EUD would like to thank her for her work during the past years and wishes her all the best in her new job within the Flemish Government services.

The email address kvp@eudnet.org will be no longer in use.


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EDF News

Successful “1million4disability” campaign, the next steps – letter from EDF President

I would like to thank you for your strong engagement in our common campaign‘1million4disability.eu’ for achieving a comprehensive non discrimination legislation at European Union level, ensuring a level playing field of protection for persons with disabilities in all areas of life. We are all very proud of the fantastic achievement that our signatures campaign has had in all countries, where single citizens, sometimes whole villages, and towns have mobilised for our campaign. I think it has been the opportunity for all our organisations to show a strong civil rights disability movement.

Also I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for your participation to our massive citizens’ gathering in favour of the rights of persons with disabilities on 4 October 2007, which has been a great success. People had never seen such a big mobilisation in the European Headquarters.

As you may know several pictures of the event are available on our website:http://www.1million4disability.eu/campaign.asp?langue=EN . The event received a wide coverage in Belgium, in some EU countries, and in the European media. EDF is also currently editing a film of the event. Please also feel free to send EDF Secretariat any images or pictures at this occasion.

Our successful campaign « 1million4disability » is only the beginning of our work towards European legislative measures against discrimination towards disabled persons.

A first success is that our achievement is now often quoted by European Commission officials in internal and external meetings.

EDF has also submitted last 15 October to the European Commission our position paper on a comprehensive disability specific directive that we had approved at the Board and in which the results of our campaign were mentioned. This document is available at : http://www.edf-feph.org/Page_Generale.asp?DocID=13854&thebloc=13856

EDF Secretariat had the collected signatures certified through legal procedure which confirmed that the campaign collected a total of 1.288.022 signatures among which 205.253 electronic signatures and 1.089.744 manual signatures.

During the week of 5 November, the signatures will be delivered to the European Commission with a wide European and national media coverage.

EDF is also currently updating its proposal for a disability specific comprehensive non discrimination legislation. Some changes have to be made following the adoption of the UN Convention. Furthermore, some further changes will have to be made more particularly in the area of accessibility, in line of recent developments at EU and national level. Such work is being now carried out in cooperation with Professor Lisa Waddington from the University of Maastricht. A new version will be sent out to consultation before mid November. Given the extensive consultation organised in the preparation of the original proposal, you will be asked to comment only on the changes. Furthermore EDF Secretariat will ask you to help us with the translation in the different languages.

I would like to propose you to present the proposal during the week of 3 December at European level through an event at European level (we are trying to organise a meeting with Social Affairs and Employment Ministers, as the Social policy Council will be held in Brussels during that week) which should be replicated by press action at national level.

The campaign will have to continue intensively next year, and together with the Executive Committee, which will meet on 13 November, I will send you some concrete proposals for action at EU and national level.

Action at national level could also be the opportunity to hand over additional signatures collected in every country as I know that some of you are continuing the campaign.

We will also have the opportunity to restate our claims at the Ministerial meeting and conference on disability that will be held in Slovenia in May 2008.

Our objective is to ensure that a proposal will be on the table by next spring, in order to be able to go through the legislative pipeline before the end of the mandate of the current European Commission (expiring spring 2009, should the Reform Treaty have entered into force).

I am looking forward for your feedback and ideas. Now we have the support of more than one million citizens in Europe. It is now time to keep the pressure for an answer to our demands!



Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 22/2007

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New EDF website now online!

On the occasion of its 10 th anniversary, EDF is proud to announce that its new website is now online.

EDF new website has a very attractive design and user-friendly navigation and language. You will find the latest information on EDF priority areas (non-discrimination legislation, UN Convention, structural funds, …..), background information on all policy areas tackled by EDF, facts and figures about disability, etc…

Some pages of the website are still under construction, but EDF will do its utmost to update and finalize the website in due course. Also the members’ only section is in construction and should be finalized by the end of November. EDF members will be informed as soon as it is available and how to access it.

The website is still available on the same address as the previous one : http://www.edf-feph.org

Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 22/2007

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The European Trade Union Confederation and the European Disability Forum join forces to combat discrimination at work

Representatives from the European trade unions and the European disability movement have met in Lisbon to agree on the milestones of a structured long-term cooperation. This was the third time that the leaders from the two movements have met, in the framework of a fertile dialogue already initiated in 2001. Nevertheless, the Lisbon conference brings a new impetus to the existing cooperation between the two, as for the first time, through the adoption of a joint declaration, a concrete work programme was established for the years to come. 

The declaration aims to promote the employment and vocational training for disabled people in the workplace, still largely excluded from the labour force and facing unemployment two to three times more than non-disabled people. It also identifies the main areas of work and priorities for the next years in which the social partners and organisations of disabled people will work hand in hand, highlighting the need to maintain a permanent dialogue, both at European and national level, which will lead to tangible results.

For ETUC and EDF, the main challenges concern the proper implementation, in all the Member States, of the European non-discrimination Directive on Employment; a greater awareness for a qualitative and quantitative integration of disabled people into the labour market; the rapid ratification of the United Nations Convention in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which explicitly recognises the right to work; better prominence of disability concerns in social partner's agreements at EU level, including future expected ones on people excluded from the labour market and lifelong learning; and finally, the adoption of a comprehensive disability legislation at EU level tackling discrimination beyond employment, a campaign that both organisations have been pushing forward since 2003.

The Lisbon conference was organised with the support of the European Commission and the active involvement of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. The full text of the Declaration can be downloaded by clicking here

Source: EDF Press Release

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EU News

European Parliament Disability Intergroup – New website address

Please note that the website of the European Parliament Disability Intergroup has been allocated a new website address : http://www.disabilityintergroup.eu

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EU Disability High Level Group adopts position on social inclusion and quality of services

The EU Disability High Level Group is a body composed of representatives from all EU member States, Norway and Iceland, competent on disability issues (mostly from social affairs or employment ministries). It is chaired by the European Commission and meets two to three times a year. The first part of the meeting also involves civil society representatives and EDF was represented. Also service providers and organizations of families are invited.

The main issues discussed were disability mainstreaming in the open method of coordination in social protection and social inclusion, quality of social services of general interest for persons with disabilities, the UN Convention of the rights of persons with disabilities, and the review of EU rules on State aids (including aid for employment and training of disabled people. Coface Handicap also presented a European Charter for Family carers.

The High Level Group adopted two policy papers in the area of social inclusion and of quality of services. It is the first time that the Group adopts an official position. Both documents, which you will find in annex are quite positive.

The first gives some guidance on how to include disability policies in the preparation of the annual national action plans on social protection and social inclusion within the Lisbon agenda. The document was also disseminated at the European Round Table on Social Inclusion and poverty last 17-18 October.

The second document defines principles for quality of services for people with disabilities, with a strong equality and human rights perspective.

The Group has been recently assigned the task to prepare a report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities for the next Ministerial meeting of persons with disabilities to be held in Slovenia next May. There was a general agreement on the structure proposed: state of play signature and ratifications, actions undertaken for implementation at EU and national level, common challenges and solutions, recommendations. However there was a general reluctance to produce an in-depth report. EDF has called for cooperation between national civil servants and disabled people’s organizations in the preparation of the reports. A questionnaire will be sent in the next few weeks with a deadline for responses on January 10. On 6-7 March (next High Level Group meeting) a first draft will be presented. A new version will be sent for written consultation early April. The report will be finalized in the beginning of May.

DG competition was invited to present the state of play on the draft regulation on block exemption for state aid, which also affects state aids for employment and training of disabled people (whether in mainstream or sheltered companies). The Commission announced that a final proposal will be presented for end of the year, and the final adoption is foreseen for next Spring.

Source: EDF Weekly Mailing 22/2007

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FUTURE OF EUROPE – EU leaders adopted new Treaty

On 19 October, the EU leaders adopted the new Treaty during the Summit in Lisbon closing the chapter on a crisis that has gripped the EU since 2005. However, the UK and Polish opt-outs from the Charter of fundamental rights might seriously affect the way basic rights of people, solidarity and respect for human dignity are valued in the EU.

After a rather closed intergovernmental negotiations’ process, EU leaders should now open-up to people and NGOs to discuss the practical implementation of the new treaty provisions. There are a number of very good provisions in the treat : the spelled-out values and objectives, the social and equality transversal clauses, the article on participatory development are very positive developments.

However , for citizens to support this treaty they have to be informed of the existence of these articles and be involved in designing the future implementation of these articles. What really counts is that they do not only exist on paper but become a felt reality for people. This would be the best way to gain a wide support for this text and for a new Europe.

Indeed, bringing the EU closer to its citizens is not just a matter of adopting the right institutional procedures. Policymakers have to restore people’s faith that the EU can respond to their needs and that they can be associated in the decision-making process. The article of the new treaty on participatory democracy should not remain just a void article and all NGOs from the civil society should call for its immediate implementation by the Portuguese presidency.

Source : Social Platform & EDF Weekly Mailing 22/2007

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Deaf News around Europe and the World

First silent internet TV-series in Sweden

October 15 th the first Swedish TV series which is fully made by Deaf and HOH was launched on the internet.

All episodes are in Swedish Sign Language and are subtitled in English, Spanish and Swedish.

The name of the series is Anders.se and the show is broadcasted on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Please have a look at the website: www.dramaski.se

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National Deputy Deaf in Argentina

For the first time in the history of Argentinian politics a person 100 % deaf, Argentinian Sign Language user (LSA) and activist for the rights of the deaf got the opportunity of participating in the national elections as candidate for National Deputy in the Province of Buenos Aires.

This is a historical event, that restores the claim for active participation of the Deaf Community and perhaps will open many doors so that in the future each political party has a deaf candidate.

Source: www.adrianreynoso.com.ar

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Other News

UN CONVENTION – 15 more countries signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities during UN General Assembly

On 2 October, seven countries ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – 13 short of the number that will bring the Convention into effect.

In addition, during the UN General Assembly 15 more countries signed the Convention—the first of the 21st Century and the first that directly addresses the needs of persons with disabilities—, bringing the total of signatures to 117 - from the European Union : Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania and Estonia, from the Balkan region : Montenegro, as well as countries from other parts of the world : Cambodia, the Comoros, Japan, Malawi, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, the Philippines, Romania, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago.

Seven countries – Cambodia, Gabon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Montenegro, Slovakia and Swaziland – signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention, bringing the number of signatories to 66. The Protocol, which has been ratified by three countries, will come into force when the Convention does, and after 10 ratifications or accessions.

For updated information on signatures and ratifications of the Convention, seehttp://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable

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