Regarding the lack of accessibility of information and communication in International Sign of the EU’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
20 March 2020
On the 24th of October the meeting of the members of European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deafblindness (the Platform) took place in Brussels. EUD met with EURO-CIU, EDbN, EDbU, EFHOH, FEPEDA to discuss the latest updates and future collaborations.
During the meeting participants updated each other about their current work and discussed common work priorities for the near future. Among others, this included further advocacy actions regarding the European Accessibly Act (EAA) and the particular issue that currently the text of the EAA does not ensure end-to-end accessibility for emergency services, including the European emergency number 112. Members of the European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deafblindness agree that it is absolutely crucial to ensure interoperable end-to-end accessibility for emergency services, which means the whole chain of communication is accessible. This means that (i) user equipment needs to be accessible, (ii) telephony services must be able to carry accessible communications and (iii) emergency centres that answer emergency communications must be able to receive and answer accessible emergency communications in the same way. Currently the text of the EAA does not oblige the emergency centres that answer emergency communications to be able to receive and answer accessible emergency communications, which breaks the communication chain. All members of the European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deafblindness agreed to continue advocating national governments to change their current position and make sure that the text of the EAA ensures that emergency centres that answer emergency communications are able to receive and answer accessible emergency communications. This is absolutely crucial for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind persons who find themselves in emergency situation and need to call for help.
Moreover, the members of the Platform discussed future actions regarding upcoming European elections. Accessibility for deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind voters must be guaranteed in order to ensure their right to political participation. Members of the Platform agreed to work together to raise awareness about the importance of breaking the barriers and ensuring accessibility to information and communication.
EUD is pleased to have many interesting and fruitful discussions with the members of the Platform and is looking forward to the next meeting which will take place in Barcelona in March 2019.
More information about the European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deafblindness https://www.epdhdb.eu/
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