On 24th and 25th of August, EUD has been present at the 16th UN CRPD session to observe the committees review of Italy’s progress in implementing the Convention and to give our support to the delegation representing the Italian deaf community.
A wide variety of issues was discussed during Italy’s review session, where the delegation of the Italian government presented how it has been working towards a full implementation of the CRPD, and where the committee pointed out its concerns about several shortcomings in that regard. Additionally, during a specific session for civil society, a group of Italian civil society organisations, including the Italian Deaf association (ENS), had the opportunity to inform the committee about their views on the progress made.
Both the committee and ENS clearly pointed out the urgency of recognising the national Italian sign language, as Italy is one out two European countries who haven’t recognised their national sign language in their law. This constitutes a major barrier for deaf persons; for instance, many teachers and communication assistants in educational settings are not trained in sign language and with regards to deaf students’ communicational needs. Also, sometimes deaf people have to pay for their own legal assistance in courts, as many interpreters are not sufficiently legally trained. A recognition of Italian sign language would open doors to that regard.
The committee also enquired about the degree of provision of sign language interpretation in public and private TV broadcasting.
Following the session, EUD interviewed the representatives of ENS, Giuseppe Petrucci and Humberto Insolera, on their thoughts about the replies of the Italian government to the CRPD committee’s questions. ENS expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity of some responses and its hopes for more clarity in future written responses to the committee. EUD furthermore enquired about ENS’ views on the current state of progress towards the recognition of Italian sign language and reaffirmed EUD’s continous interest in working together.