Article I: Name, registered address and legal status.
1.1 Name and registered address.
The name of the organization shall be the European DeafBlind Union. The initials of the organisation are: EDbU.
The EDbU is registered in the Czech Republic: K Vodojemu 29, 150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic
1.2 Legal status.
The EDbU is an international non-governmental organization.
Article II: Aims and functions.
2.1 Definition of deafblindness.
Deafblindness is a unique disability caused by various combinations of auditory and visual impairments. It causes obstacles in communication and in social and practical interaction and it prevents full and inclusive participation in society.
2.2 Aims and functions.
The basic aim and function of the EDbU is to work for equality and full participation in society by people with deafblindness in all European countries. In order for this to be achieved, the highest priority must be given to assisting and then supervising the establishment of independent national organisations of people with deafblindness in all European countries where such organisations do not exist. It is recognised that although some countries have formed such organisations, most countries have not and some may not be in a position to do so in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, associations of people with deafblindness, affiliated to organisations of the blind or the deaf, should be accepted as fully fledged members of the EDbU, always provided that such associations have a leadership with a majority of people with deafblindness, elected at regular intervals by the people with deafblindness of the country concerned. See also Article III, section 3.1.2.
The EDbU is a European forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of deafblindness which also works to increase European solidarity among organisations of people with deafblindness.
The further aims of the EDbU are:
to be the European representative of people with deafblindness in Europe;
to organise conferences, seminars, cultural exchanges, holidays and workshops where people with deafblindness can exchange experiences and views for the benefit of the people with deafblindness directly involved as well as for the EDbU;
to work for the social inclusion of persons with deafblindness;
in pursuance of these objectives and principles, to co-operate with international organisations which are active in the fields of deafblindness, deafness, blindness and cross-disability;
to promote activities and to act to benefit persons with deafblindness without discrimination on the basis of politics, religion, economy, sex or race;
to seek full recognition of people with deafblindness in all aspects of society in accordance with The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and The United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities;
to raise awareness of deafblindness as a distinct disability;
to combat the problems of people with deafblindness concerning communication, information, interaction with the environment, and orientation and mobility;
to undertake any task necessary to achieve or further any of these objectives.
Article III: Membership.< h2/>
3.1 Types of members and types of organizations.
3.1.1 Types of members of EDbU.
EDbU has two (2) types of members:
a) national members;
b) associate members.
Applications for membership must be made to the Executive Committee.
3.1.2 Types of organizations.
In the context of this Constitution following organizations can become members of EDbU:
a) national organizations of people with deafblindness;
b) affiliate organizations of people with deafblindness;
c) other organizations.
A national organization of people with deafblindness is an association of people with deafblindness which has a legal entity, is active in the territory of the country and has a governing body (for example Executive Committee) with a majority of people with deafblindness as members, elected by the members with deafblindness at regular intervals. National organizations of people with deafblindness have the right to apply for national membership or associate membership in EDbU.
An affiliate organization of people with deafblindness is an association of people with deafblindness which is affiliated to organizations of the deaf or blind and has a governing body (for example Executive Committee) with a majority of people with deafblindness as members, elected by the members with deafblindness at regular intervals. An affiliate organization of people with deafblindness has the right to apply for associate membership in EDbU and in special cases defined in section 3.2.1. apply for national membership in EDbU.
An other organization is an association of people with deafblindness which is neither a national organization of people with deafblindness nor an affiliate organization of people with deafblindness, and any other organization that is in agreement with the aims of EDbU. Organizations belonging to this category have the right to apply for associate membership in EDbU.
3.2 National members of EDbU.
Based on the application form a national organization of people with deafblindness may apply for national membership in EDbU. It may also apply as an affiliate organization of people with deafblindness under the conditions described below in this section. Only one national member can represent each country. If there are two or more national organizations of people with deafblindness they shall agree which one of them shall become the national member. If there is no national organization of people with deafblindness in the country an affiliate organization of people with deafblindness may apply for national membership. If there are two or more affiliate organizations of people with deafblindness they shall agree which one of them shall apply for national membership. An affiliate organization of people with deafblindness is allowed to be a national member of EDbU only until a national organization of people with deafblindness is established in the country and applies for national membership.
National members represent members with deafblindness of their organizations. Each national member elects one national representative, who is an individual and who must be a person with deafblindness.
National representatives have the right to participate in all EDbU activities, have the right to speak, to make proposals and to vote in General Assembly meetings.
3.3 Associate members of EDbU.
National and affiliate organizations of people with deafblindness which are not a national member of EDbU, other organizations, and individuals with deafblindness may apply for an associate membership of EDbU.
Associate members will receive all information material from EDbU.
Representatives of associate members, participating in EDbU activities, shall be persons with deafblindness. Representatives of associate members have the right to participate as observers and make proposals in EDbU general assemblies, but may not vote or nominate candidates for any elected position within the EDbU.
Article IV: Rights and obligations of members.
National members of the EDbU shall, subject to this Constitution and By-laws, have the right to be represented in all activities established by the EDbU, to vote in debates on policy and at General Assemblies where they are present, and to nominate persons for committees of the EDbU.
Associate members have the right to participate as observers in all activities of the EDbU apart from Executive Committee meetings.
All members of the EDbU shall pay an annual membership fee to the EDbU. They may pay this fee at any time during the four years between two General Assemblies. Any other levies shall be paid within 90 days of their imposition.
The rights of a member shall only be valid if the annual membership fee and any outstanding levies have been paid and received in accordance with article 4.3.
Any person or organization, having obtained membership of EDbU, operating under the authority of the EDbU or under a contract with the EDbU, is bound by the provisions of the EDbU Constitution and By-laws and shall abide by the decisions of the EDbU organs.
Article V: Admission, suspension and expulsion of members.
Any admission of national members and all expulsion of any members shall be decided by the General Assembly on the basis of recommendations by the Executive Committee.
A suspension may be decided by the Executive Committee, which may lift the suspension when reasons for the suspension no longer exist.
A member may be suspended or expelled if it has violated the Constitution or By-laws of the EDbU.
A member under suspension loses all rights and privileges of membership.
A member under suspension may appeal to the General Assembly, which will decide whether the suspension shall be upheld.
Article VI: Structure.
6.1 The governance of the EDbU.
The governance of the EDbU shall consist of the following bodies:
the General Assembly;
the Executive Committee.
6.2 The General Assembly.
The General Assembly shall consist of national members and shall meet at least once every four years. An extraordinary General Assembly may be convened either by the Executive Committee or if requested by at least 60 % (60 percents) of the national members.
Meetings of the General Assembly are open. Each national member has one vote.
The General Assembly shall:
a. Act as the supreme governing body of the EDbU and decide on any matter relevant to the EDbU.
b. Determine the policy and the fundamental guidelines for the development of the rights and obligations of persons with deafblindness in the societies of Europe.
c. Elect the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary General, the Treasurer, and five further Officials.
d. Elect two Auditors.
e. Consider and approve amendments to the Constitution.
f. Consider and approve By-laws for the EDbU.
g. Consider and approve the rules and procedure for the election of the Office Bearers.
h. Consider motions from members and standing committees. The following rules shall apply to such motions:
they shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Committee no less than three months before the General Assembly;
all motions for the General Assembly shall first be considered by the Executive Committee, which may give the General Assembly the opportunity of considering motions not meeting the three months requirement;
motions, together with any amendments, recommendations or observations shall be dispatched by the Executive Committee to the members together with the agenda of the General Assembly no less than six weeks before the Assembly is due to meet;
motions shall be decided by a simple majority of voting national representatives present at the General Assembly;
if a motion does not fulfil the requirements mentioned above, it may be ruled by the president, or the person chairing the meeting at the time, to be an Emergency Resolution to be discussed and voted on by the General Assembly. If this ruling is challenged, the matter shall be put to a vote. At the discretion of the President, or the person chairing the meeting at the time, one representative shall be allowed to speak for and one against the ruling being upheld.
i. Adopt a four-year action plan.
j. Consider, approve and admit national members to the EDbU.
k. Consider and approve the annual membership fee of the national members and associate members.
l. Decide any change in the country of location of the EDbU secretariat.
6.3 The Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee shall consist of nine Office-Bearers elected by the General Assembly, and the Editor of the EDbU Newsletter. The Office-Bearers are: the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary General, the Treasurer, and five further Officials. The Office-Bearers shall appoint the Editor of the EDbU Newsletter who will have the right to speak and make proposals, but not the right to vote in the Executive Committee.
The Office-Bearers of the Executive Committee shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re-elected.
The Executive Committee shall hold at least one meeting per year.
The Executive Committee shall:
a. Conduct the affairs of the EDbU between meetings of the General Assembly, including filling vacancies in the Executive Committee.
b. Initiate activities and implement policies as fixed by the General Assembly.
c. Propose By-laws to be considered by the General Assembly.
d. Consider and approve the budget of the EDbU.
e. Consider and submit four-year reports to the General Assembly, taking into account the resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly.
f. Determine and dispatch to the members the agenda and other documents relevant for the General Assembly no later than six weeks prior to the meeting.
g. Be responsible for relations with relevant international organisations.
h. Establish its rules of procedure.
i. Decide the number and conditions of employment of the staff of the Secretariat.
j. Consider, approve and admit Associate members to the EDbU.
The Executive Committee shall establish such ad hoc committees as it may deem necessary for carrying out its duties.
6.4 The secretariat.
The EDbU shall have a Secretariat. The General Assembly may decide which country/organization shall host the Secretariat.
If the General Assembly has not made a decision regarding 6.4.1, the secretariat shall be hosted in accordance with a decision taken by the President under his/her supervision.
6.5 Statutory body.
The Executive Committee is a statutory body of EDbU. Each member of the Executive Committee acts on behalf of the organization independently, except the editor of the EDbU newsletter.
Article VII: Elections and voting at General Assemblies.
A General Assembly shall have a quorum when at least one third, 1/3, of the members entitled to vote are present.
All decisions, including the admission of members, shall be determined by a simple majority of votes of delegates present and voting, except in the case of expulsions and constitutional amendments where a two- thirds, 2/3, majority of votes shall be required.
Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. All other voting shall be by show of hands unless a secret ballot is demanded by a simple majority.
Voting by proxy shall not be permitted.
Article VIII: Finances.
The funds of the EDbU shall consist of:
Annual membership fees from members and any levies on members.
Contributions, grants or other income that may be received for the use of the EDbU.
The fiscal year shall be the calendar year.
The Executive Committee shall conduct annual audits of the accounts of the EDbU.
Article IX: Language.
The English language shall be the official language of the EDbU.
Article X: Dissolution of EDbU.
A resolution proposing the dissolution of the EDbU must be circulated to all members at least twelve (12) months before the General Assembly at which it is to be discussed. For such a resolution to be carried, a two-thirds majority of all votes cast is required.
The EDbU will be dissolved if no meetings of the General Assembly have taken place during a period of nine (9) consecutive years or if no meetings of the Executive Committee have taken place during a period of five (5) consecutive years.
Article XI: Amendments to the constitution.
The General Assembly approves amendments to the constitution. Approval of amendments of this constitution requires two-thirds (2/3) majority of all votes cast in the General Assembly.
Approved by the 3rd EDbU General Assembly in Plovdiv May 22nd 2013