World Federation of the Deaf – Sign Languages are for Everyone
23 September 2021
On the 15th of June 2021, EUD Executive Director Mark Wheatley presented a statement on behalf of the European Union of the Deaf during the General Debate of the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CPRD). This year’s General Debate focused on building back better from COVID-19 crisis and included video statements made by the representatives of the State Parties to the UN CRPD and civil society organisations which highlighted the urgent need to include persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in national and global recovery plans.
Our Executive Director highlighted that when recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, State Parties to the UN CRPD must include National Associations of the Deaf in the core of the decision-making processes. In doing so, State Parties to UN CRPD in light of the global pandemic will ensure that we build back a more inclusive, equal and sustainable society which leaves no one behind.
You can find the full statement below.
EUD statement at the fourteenth session of the 14th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRP
Building back better: COVID-19 response and recovery; Meeting the needs, Realizing the rights, and addressing the socio-economic impacts on persons with disabilities
Dear Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
EUD as the only supranational organisation representing deaf people at European level welcomes this year’s topic on building back better from the COVID-19 crisis.
The recovery from COVID-19 can be an impetus to find new solutions for building more sustainable, inclusive and equal societies. However, inclusion must be an integral part of crisis response. In order to ensure that we build towards a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world, EUD highlights that the State Parties to the UN CRPD must place organisations of persons with disabilities, including National Associations of the Deaf (NADs) at the core of the decision-making process in relation to COVID-19 recovery. When meaningfully consulted, organisations of persons with disabilities will ensure that the COVID-19 response does not infringe rights granted by the UN CRPD and meaningfully addresses the disproportionate socio-economic impact that is experienced by persons with disabilities, including deaf persons.
To guarantee meaningful inclusion of deaf persons, State Parties to the UN CRPD must ensure that all the relevant consultation processes are accessible in national sign languages. This must be done at all levels of administration, including regional and local levels, and across all policy areas. National Associations of the Deaf are the best suited bodies to assess whether the policies that address the impact of COVID-19 pandemic for deaf people are UN CRPD compliant and prevent a disproportionate impact on deaf people rights. COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities faced by persons with disabilities and especially showcased that women and girls, older people, migrants and refugees, LGBTIQ+ and other marginalised populations are further exposed to intersecting risks and must be specifically paid particular attention to when building back better.
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