DEAFBLIND IN EUROPE – EXCLUDED TROM THE EXCLUDED?
Brussels, Belgium, June 24, 2015
Working Breakfast entitled “Deafblind in Europe – Excluded from the excluded?”, organized by European Deafblind Union (EDbU) in partnership with MEP Adam Kosa, MEP Davor Stier and MEP Helga Stevens, was held in the European Parliament on June 24, 2015.
This important meeting, of interest for experts and institutions working on the promotion of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, was organized in order to highlight how, in spite of all European inclusive strategies focused on empowering people with disabilities, to make them enjoy their rights on an equal basis with others, Europe still often neglects the Deafblind, a group of people who are considered as the most socially excluded amongst citizens in the European Union.
The first of this profile ever organized in the European Parliament, the Event included presentations by some of the top and distinguished leaders of the European Deafblind community who seized this dedicated opportunity to raise awareness of deafblindness as a distinct disability, to present the EDbU and its vision, mission, future action plans, as well as the current obstacles that EDbU, as an organization, is encountering.
Brief outline of key issues and challenges addressed in the Event
The issues addressed included:
- Opening Remarks and Keynote address (Davor Ivo STIER, Croatian member of the European Parliament, Group of the European People’s Party)
- Legal situation of the Deafblind in Europe (Ádám KÓSA, Hungarian member of the European Parliament Group of the European People’s Party – Christian Democrats)
- Deafblind – invisible citizens of Europe – national experiences presented by Peter VANHOUTTE (VZW Anna Timmermanvereniging, Belgium), Tamás GANGL (Siketvakok Országos Egyesülete, Hungary) and Francisco JAVIER TRIGUEROS MOLINA (Asociación de Sordociegos de España, Spain)
- Are we able to hear the true Voice of Deafblind in Europe? voiced by Sanja TARCZAY,Ph.D (President of the EDbU, Croatia)
- How to build an accessible and inclusive Europe for the Deafblind? (the experience of the Scandinavian countries) highlited by Seppo JURVANEN, Vice President of the EDbU, Finland
- The European Commission (Luisa CABRAL, Head of Unit for the Rights of persons with Disabilities, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) and The European Ombudsman’s office (Astrid EICHSTAEDT, Seconded National Expert) remarks on Deafblindness
- Disscusion panel
- Official overview and future Conference announcement by Helga STEVENS (Belgian member of the European Parliament, European Conservatives and Reformists Group)
Memorable information highlighted by EDbU Representatives:
- In spite of the imposed social exclusion, lack of legal framework and dicrimination expressed through POTEMKIN VILLAGE (fabricated image of the Deafblind participation presented, while in reality their vote can by no means affect the decision), “PARASITISM” (A positive image as the result of efforts made by personal effort and resourcefulness of a deafblind person) and PATRONISATION (false impression that Deafblind are helpless and in need of some representative from the ranks of persons without disabilities who would fight for their rights), deafblind persons have devoted and still do dedicate great efforts to take the decision-making process affecting their lives and their future in their own hands.
- As an authentic and powerful Voice of the Deafblind in Europe – European Deafblind Union – is striving to turn the slogan “Nothing about us without us” into reality for deafblind persons guided by a strong desire of bringing deafblind persons out of isolation by establishing and providing the accesibility of quality Deafblind interpreting services, improving the visibility of deafblindness and ensuring the recognition of deafblindness as a unique disability with individual needs in accessing information, communication, mobility and social interaction.
- “Nothing about us without us.” Or more positive expression: “All about us with us”. EDbU and persons with deafblindness in Europe are volunteering for collaboration in building accessive and inclusive Europe for persons with deafblindness. Respecting equality and rights of persons with desabilities while ensuring skilled interpreters available to Deafblind communities is the right beginning.
Working Breakfast was recognised as important by European Union of the Deaf (EUD), European Deaf Youth (EUDY), and European Disability Forum (EDF), who supported this event with their presence.
EDbU would like to thank all the friends, colleagues, presenters and partner organizations who graced this event with their participation. We were delighted that you choose to enjoy this big day with us!