Yesterday, 16 March 2016, the Maltese Parliament approved the Bill declaring that the Maltese Sign Language is to be considered an official language of Malta. We at EUD are very pleased to have supported the National Association of the Deaf in Malta for years in their work to reach this great milestone.
Three years ago, EUD cooperated with the Deaf Association in Malta and organised a meeting with high level representatives of the Ministries in Malta to explain the importance of having recognition of Sign Language. Since then, dialogue with the deaf association and research on Sign Language and how it could be included in the national legislation has been conducted.
And, recently on 11th November 2015, EUD hosted a conference in the European Parliament and encouraged the representatives of Maltese Deaf Community to meet and lobby with their MEPs. Malta took advantage of this opportunity and meet with Maltese MEPs to put their case forward about Maltese Sign Language being recognised.
This is a great achievement for Malta and we congratulate the deaf association for their ongoing work on the matter. We also applaud the Maltese Parliament for respecting their citizens and associated linguistic rights. This action supports the content embodied within the UN CRPD, of which Malta has ratified. the UNCRPD clearly states that Sign Languages should be promoted and recognised, and that is exactly what the Maltese Government have done.
The objects of this Bill are to provide for the setting up, composition and functions of the Sign Language Council of Malta, which is being set up in order to achieve a situation where the deaf community is consulted on matters relating to Maltese Sign Language; the Bill also provides for the promotion of the use and development of Maltese Sign Language, whilst declaring that the Maltese Sign Language is to be considered an official language of Malta, and for other matters ancillary or consequential thereto.
Message from President of Maltese Deaf People’s Association