Update September 2007

01 Oct 2007

EUD Members News

Flemish Sign Language is alive! - Flemish Deaf Association launches awareness campaign about Flemish Sign Language

On April 26 th 2006, Flemish Sign Language (VGT) was recognized by the Flemish Parliament. The recognition of this minority language in Flanders can only be meaningful if the language is also ‘recognized’ and respected by the hearing society.

That is why the Flemish minister of Culture granted Fevlado (the Flemish Deaf Association) a subsidy for developing an awareness campaign about Flemish Sign Language. The campaign consists of three elements: a new website, a flyer action and a television spot.

From September 22 nd till September 29 th, the television spot will be broadcasted on the Flemish public television. You can view the television spot here: http://www.vlaamsegebarentaal.be/?q=node/44.

During the same week, Deaf and hearing people will hand out flyers in all the main train stations in Flanders. The television spot and the flyers will guide people to the new website,www.vlaamsegebarentaal.be, where they can find all relevant information about Flemish Sign Language.

The campaign aims to make people aware of Sign Language People in Flanders, and Flemish Sign Language as a fully-fledged language.

The campaign was developed by the Deaf-led company SignFuse (http://www.signfuse.com/)

in collaboration with the Flemish Deaf Assocation (http://www.fevlado.be).

Source: Fevlado (Federation of Flemish Deaf Organisations)

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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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FPAS - The Sign Language and Education Conference

Oporto, Portugal, 22 September 2007

On the 20th of September 1997, Gestual Portuguesa (Portuguese Sign Language) was protected by the Portuguese Government in the Constitutional Law. The Federação Portuguesa das Associações de Surdos (FPAS) (Portuguese Federation of Associations of the Deaf) decided that important date, should be celebrated. Therefore FPAS hosted an International Conference under the theme “The Sign Language and Education” at Oporto on 22nd September, 2007.

Yannis YALLOUROS, EUD Board Member attended the Conference and gave a presentation about EUD and also compared the formal legislation of Sign Languages around Europe. His presentation was well received and also helped to increase awareness of the activities of their Deaf European neighbours. Yannis also had a meeting with Arlindo Ilídio OLIVEIRA, President of FPAS to increase co-operation between the two organisations.

EUD would like to take this opportunity to thank FPAS for their kind invitation to make it possible for Yannis YALLOUROS to speak at their very important conference to celebrate 10th anniversary of the formal recognition of their Sign Language.

Written by: Mark WHEATLEY

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EUD News

Helga Stevens resigned as EUD President

Helga StevensOn Friday 7th September, Helga STEVENS announced that she wishes to renounce her position as EUD President.

The reason for her decision is that she was nominated and sworn in as Community Senator into the Belgian Senate on 5 July 2007. This means that she now have a double political mandate: as Member of the Flemish Parliament and as Senator. In addition she was elected into the Ghent City Council and this local mandate is effective as of 2 January 2007.

This increased political workload will not allow her to continue to combine her political duties with the duties of the EUD President.

Helga commented:

“With Mark WHEATLEY as EUD Executive Director, and with the Vice-President and Members of the Board, I am confident that EUD is in very capable hands and that its future is safeguarded. I would also like to cordially thank everybody for the excellent and warm co-operation of the past months and years. I have been with EUD since 1996, and it is always difficult to leave an organisation for which I have worked with all my heart for so many years. With no doubt my heart will always be with EUD, but from now on in a different way.”

Helga will attend EUD Board Meeting on 27 th October at Copenhagen, Denmark to ensure that the handover goes smoothly.

The Board members of EUD wishes all the very best of luck to Helga as she will be sorely missed.

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European High Level Conference on the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015: National Implementation – from Policy to Practice

Zagreb , Republic of Croatia, 20-21 September 2007

The conference, jointly organised by the Council of Europe Directorate General for Social Cohesion and the Ministry of Family, Veterans' Affairs and Intergenerational Solidarity of the Republic of Croatia, was attended by over 150 governmental and non-governmental experts on disability issues including Mark WHEATLEY representing European Union of the Deaf.

“The objective of the Action Plan is a shift from patient to citizen in our approach to people with disabilities. It has the potential to improve the quality of life of many disabled people in Europe” said Maud DE BOER-BUQUICCHIO, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

“It is the right moment for all of us to move from policy to practice in order to improve the inclusion and active participation of people with disabilities in society, and to ensure equal opportunities and non-discrimination,” she added.

The European High Level Conference on the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015: National Implementation – from Policy to Practice is a step forward at a time when a great number of European countries are signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Member states will use this opportunity to exchange good practice and ideas in order to advance in the national reform processes.

Panel sessions of the conference covered topics such as implementation of the Action Plan into national strategies and national legislation, also focusing on forms of development of regional and international co-operation as well as the interaction of NGOs with state institutions and local governments.

The conference highlighted examples of good practices of social protection for people with disabilities in the Council of Europe’ participating member states.

The conference adopted a Declaration including practical recommendations.

Mark WHEATLEY took part at the discussion and creation of the final proposal of the Zagreb Declaration text and also gave a presentation about EUD in front of 150 governmental and non-governmental experts on disability issues as well as Ms Jadranka KOSOR, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia in attendance.

Written by Mark WHEATLEY

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EUDY General Assembly

Zurich , Switzerland , 22 September 2007

The General Assembly was jointly organised by European Union of the Deaf Youth and Swiss Deaf Youth (SDY) organisations. They have invited Mark WHEATLEY to chair the General Assembly and also to give a presentation about EUD.

The GA was attended by representatives of European Deaf Youth Organisations totalling 23 countries as well as EUDY Board (Seán HERLIHY, Minna KATAINEN, Kilian KNOERZER, Jaroslav CEHLARIK and Johanna KARMGAARD).

Mark WHEATLEY gave a presentation about EUD and also emphasised the importance of working relationship between EUD and EUDY. For example; EUDY Board should attend EUD General Assemblies to give presentation to increase awareness of their activities to representatives of European NADs. The same goes with representatives of EUD attending EUDY General Assemblies to share vital information which will benefit both organisations. Mark also pointed out that that co-operation is vital to the success EUDY's activities in the future.

Mark WHEATLEY chaired the General Assembly which was perceived as a success. Delegates have voted to approve to give the EUDY Board authority to amend and implement the new statutes following their suggestions. Seán HERLIHY, Minna KATAINEN completed their term and resigned from the Board. Jenny NILSSON ( Sweden) replaced Johanna KARMGAARD as a member of EUDY Board which is responsible for organising the next EUDY Camp at Serbia in 2008. Raffaele CAGNAZZO ( Italy) was elected as a member of EUDY Board. Jaroslav CEHLARIK was unanimously elected as EUDY President as he was the sole nomination for the post. The delegates also voted to choose Simon BAK's design of the new EUDY logo. FINLAND won the election despite strong competition from Italy and Germany to host the first ever EUDY Junior Camp in 2009 through excellent presentation by Outi TOURA and Jussi RINTA-HOISKA.

EUD and Mark WHEATLEY would like to thank EUDY Board, SDY and NAD Switzerland for their hospitality and also a valuable opportunity to demonstrate co-operation between two organisations.

Written by Mark WHEATLEY

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EDF News

1million4disability campaign very successful

1 232 771 signatures collected in only 9 months by the European disability movement in favour of a disability Directive were handed over in Brussels to the European Commission Vice-President.

'I am not proud or able to say that Europe and its institutions have made everything possible. We have not! We have failed and we a have a lot more work to do" said today Margaret WALLSTRÖM, Vice-President of the European Commission. "You are such an important pressure on us that continues to remind us about the work that we still have to do and you are an important collaborator for the European Commission to prepare legislative proposal. I know that work is going on for a legislative proposal, hopefully for next year. We promised to deliver and we will deliver also on these promises".

These were the words that Margaret WALLSTRÖM addressed to the two thousand representatives of disabled people, which had travelled to Brussels from 30 different European countries. "I understand your disappointment", said WALLSTRÖM, when the participants expressed their resentment regarding President BARROSO's last minute decision not to attend the event.

"We need the Commission to fulfil the promises that were made back in 2004. We need now your answer. Not only for the persons present here, but also for those in all capitals, in all cities, in all villages. We firmly believe that Europe has to be a place of equal opportunities for all. If Europe fails, it will be even more away from its citizens", said Yannis VARDAKASTANIS, President of the European Disability Forum. "We cannot tolerate ignorance; we cannot tolerate any delays on the part of the European institutions. There is no excuse. Everybody knows".

Hans-Gert PÖTTERING, President of the European Parliament and one of the key supporters of the campaign renewed the Parliament's full support for a European specific Directive: "the European Union is based on the principles of respect and human dignity. Let us work together to achieve this goal. I am glad that you succeeded in collecting the million signatures: this is a sign of hope for Europe".

Idalia MONIZ, on behalf or the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union: " Portugal is ready as Presidency and as Member State to work on the Commission's proposal aiming to strengthening equality legislation and in particular, through the adoption of a comprehensive and efficient European disability legislation".

Several authorities representing the various decision-levels in Belgium were also there to support the European Disability's Forum campaign, including Gisèle MANDAILA, Federal Secretary of State for People with Disabilities, Steven VANACKERE, Flemish Minister of Welfare, Public Health and Family, Belgium and Evelyne HUYTEBROECK, Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region.

A symbolic cheque representing the 1 232 771 signatures was handed over to the Vice-President of the European Commission. The boxes containing the signatures will be certified and sent to Mr Barroso's office in the next days.

A full press pack on the campaign and the 4th of October event can be downloadable from:http://cms.horus.be/files/99909/MediaArchive/pdf/1million4disability-event-presspack-EN.pdf

For more information on the EDF campaign "1million4disability": www.1million4disability.eu <http://www.1million4disability.eu/>

Source: EDF Press release

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Deaf News around Europe and the World

Frontrunners III website

The Frontrunners III group has launched their new website.

Please have a look at: www.fr3.frontrunners.dk

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Other News

Welcome to SignOn!

The SignOn! project is coming to an end. In 3 years, a European consortium from 7 countries has dveloped the SignOn! website, where sign language users can learn English. On-line, with translations of 10 English texts, in 7 different sign languages and in International Sign.

On the website you will also find grammar explanations in sign language, interactive exercises, and an interactive dictionary with the translation of English words, into 7 European Sign Languages (AT, ES, FI, IS, NL, NO, and UK).

SignOn! was developed to help sign language users learn English. But yes, if you know some English already, you can also use SignOn! to learn a foreign Sign Language, or International Sign.

You can watch an introductory video in International Sign, on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G5L8qqpVsU

Or you can go directly to the SignOn! website: www.sign-on.eu

Source: Press release by SignOn!

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European Anti-Discrimination Law articles available

The fifth edition of the bi-annual European Anti-Discrimination Law Review is now available on the Migration Policy Group website.

You will find articles on discrimination by association, legal standing, ECRI 's view on challenges for the non-discrimination Directives & UN Convention on Disability, national legal developments, European policy updates, etc…

Prepared by the European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field and managed by Human European Consultancy and MPG at the request of the European Commission.

The Law Review is available in English, French and German and can be downloaded at the following link:http://www.migpolgroup.com/documents/3795.html

Hard copies available from review@non-discrimination.net

Source: Email from Migration Policy Group

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