International Day of Sign Languages 2022
On the International Day of Sign Languages 2022, EUD is sharing its key concerns that it highlights in its Alternative Report to UN CRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) Committee for the second review of the European Union.
In the report, EUD highlights that national sign languages are languages of the multilingual EU and not communication tools/formats/means. Although all EU Member States have already done so, the EU has taken very little action to ensure that national sign languages in the EU are given the status of fully fledged languages, that are recognised as equivalent and equal languages to spoken languages. EUD highlights that the EU must take action to ensure that national sign languages are given the status of languages, in order to be in line with Article 2 of the UN CRPD, which places sign languages on an equal footing with spoken languages.
EUD also emphasises that according to the UN CRPD, the use of national sign languages in the EU must be accepted and facilitated, and the EU must recognise and promote national sign languages as well as ensure access to professional sign language interpreters. However, to date, although some progress is seen, more action at the EU level is needed. The UN CRPD is the first international human rights instrument that recognises sign languages as being equal to spoken languages, and obliges its States Parties, including the EU, to promote, protect, recognise, and facilitate the use of national sign languages. In the report, EUD highlights that although the EU institutions provide interpretation in International Sign on ad hoc basis, national sign languages are not guaranteed at the EU. In order to be fully accessible for deaf persons, the EU must provide interpretation in national sign languages as International Sign is merely a communication tool, not a language.
EUD highlights that, currently, all the EU Member States have recognised their national sign languages at national level, however the official sign languages of the EU Member States are not yet recognised as official languages of the EU, and this should be addressed in the EU’s future compliance with the UN CRPD. Moreover, EUD outlines that under the UN CRPD, the EU is obliged, not only to promote and facilitate the use of national sign languages, but also to promote the linguistic identity of deaf communities, including deaf culture.
You can find the full Alternative Report on the website of the CRPD Committee.