2010 Brussels Declaration on Sign Languages in the European UnionPREAMBLE
We, the representatives of the National Associations of the Deaf of the Member States of the European Union and the affiliated members, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland believe in and strive for equal rights of Deaf and Hard of Hearing sign language users. We adopt the following declaration by mutual agreement and by full acclamation today as the closing of the conference entitled "Implementation of Sign Language Legislation" hosted by Dr Ádám Kósa, Member of the European Parliament and the European Union of the Deaf (EUD).
SIGN LANGUAGES IN USE
We call upon the European Union and its Member States to take all legal measures necessary to secure that in consultation with the Deaf Community:
We especially urge the Member States of the European Union to secure equal opportunities by providing accessible educational options for sign language users. Teachers must be trained to become fully bilingual, while native sign language users should be preferred. This is necessary to ensure appropriate education for each Deaf or Hard of Hearing child.
We trust that the European Union Member States, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland have the will and means to actively support the use of sign languages.
We are fully aware that both the United Nations and the Council of Europe have passed relevant documents on the matters presented in this Declaration.
We recall the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Recommendation 1598 (2003) on the Protection of Sign Languages in the Member States of the Council of Europe.
We herewith remind the institutions of the European Union - particularly the European Commission and the European Parliament - of two Resolutions by the European Parliament on Sign Languages (Doc A2-302/87 of 17 June 1988 and Doc B4-095/98 of 18 November 1998).
We request the European Institutions to develop laws, issue directives and support the development of horizontal legislation.
We call upon the European Union to provide sign language interpretation services within its institutions to model best practice.
We ask the European Union to request all Member States to make contributions to sign language research, development, and teaching by providing financial assistance and by launching and supporting national and local projects.
We entrust Dr Ádám Kósa, Member of the European Parliament and the European Union of the Deaf to forward this Declaration to the institutions of the European Union and its Member States.
- Dr Ádám Kósa, Member of the European Parliament;
- President of the European Union of the Deaf;
- The representatives of the National Associations of the Deaf of the Member States of the European Union and the affiliated members, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland;
- President of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters;
- President of the World Federation of the Deaf;
- President of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters
in Brussels on 19 November 2010.