The World Federation of the Deaf was established in Rome 1951. The statutes of the organisation were adopted by the First General Assembly of the organisation in Rome on 23 September 1951; and amended in Stockholm, Sweden, on 22-23 August 1963; in Warsaw, Poland, on 11 August 1967; in Espoo, Finland on 20-21 July 1987; in Tokyo, Japan, on 3 July 1991; in Vienna, Austria, on 8 July 1995; in Montreal, Canada, on 18 July 2003; in Madrid, Spain, on 15 July 2007; in Durban, South Africa, on 16-17 July 2011.WFD General Assembly Approved 16-17 July 2011
WFD Board Meeting Approved 6 November 2011
PRH (Finland) Approved 7 November 2012
1.1. The official name is World Federation of the Deaf (registered association) hereafter referred to as WFD.
2.1. The organisation’s legal seat is located in Helsinki, Finland. Its area of operations are international in scope.
3.1. WFD is an international non-governmental, non-profit organisation and does not discriminate against any organisation or individual on the basis of abilities, disabilities, gender, age, race or religion.
4.1. WFD shall develop and maintain official relations with the United Nations and its specialised agencies and organisations. WFD shall also cooperate with other international organisations promoting the interests of deaf people and international organisations representing people with disabilities.
5.1. The flag of the organisation is white with the WFD symbol at its centre. On the upper left corner are the letters FMS and at the lower right corner WFD (initials in French and English, respectively). The logo consists of three (3) small blue interlaced circles on a white background, surrounded by three (3) large blue concentric circles and five (5) pentacles (red, yellow, green, blue, and black) evenly spaced arranged on the second large concentric circle. Two blue laurels surround the symbol.
6.1. International Sign shall be used at all WFD meetings.
6.2. English shall be used in the minutes, correspondence and printed materials.
6.3. The registration language of the organisation is Finnish.
7.1. In accordance with the principles and objectives of the United Nations (UN) Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and other general acts and recommendations of the UN and its specialised agencies, WFD shall develop its activities towards the goal of equalisation of opportunities and full participation in society by deaf individuals in every country.
7.2. Accordingly, the WFD works towards the global achievement of human rights for all deaf people. These aims include:
7.3. To advocate for full access to society, including education in sign language, by which deaf people can enjoy the same equality and human rights of that of all other peoples,
7.4. To promote the establishment of local, national and regional organisations of deaf people and to guide and support activities of all its members,
7.5. To ensure that deaf people in every country have the right to promote and preserve their own sign languages and receive support for the advancement of their cultural and linguistic identities.
8.1. WFD pursues its objectives by guiding and supporting the activities of its members, supporting the establishment of new organisations when necessary:
a) taking initiatives and making proposals in order to improve the status of deaf people and making statements on issues concerning deaf people;
b) promoting the status of Sign Language on the basis of the constitutions in the respective countries of its members;
c) promoting cultural activities of deaf people and accessibility to cultural services in general;
d) providing information and resources;
e) increasing equal opportunities for full participation for deaf people in society;
f) promoting the establishment and expansion of Sign Language interpreting services in all countries;
g) taking initiatives so that deaf people have the necessary equipment to control their lives by making use of modern technology;
h) supporting the human rights of deaf people;
i) participating on the international level in cooperation with other organisations of the deaf, hard of hearing and other disabled people and authorities;
j) dissemination of scientific and legal materials on the current needs of deaf people in publications and other media;
k) distribution of and making UN documents available to all organisations and experts interested in deafness;
l) administering development cooperation activities; and
m) taking other actions serving the objectives of the WFD and the improvement of the status of deaf people worldwide.
9.2. WFD can establish funds, receive donations, legacies and organise fund-raising campaigns.
9.3. The activities of the WFD may not mainly consist of business activities.
b) Associate Members (AMs)
c) International Members (INTMs)
d) Honorary Members (HMs)
e) Individual Members (IMs)
f) Youth Ordinary Members (YOMs)
g) Individual Youth Members (IYMs)
11.2. The Board has the responsibility to approve or reject Ordinary Membership status for national organisations of the deaf.
11.3. Ordinary Membership shall be limited to, at least, one national organisation of the deaf in each country.
11.4. If two or more national federations of the deaf claims to represent the deaf people in a country, the Board shall use the “WFD role in Ordinary Member conflicts” to establish an appropriate procedure to determine which of the national federations has the widest recognition among the deaf population in that country.
11.5. If WFD does not receive contact from an Ordinary Member for a period of three years, the Board can investigate the situation and make a recommendation to the General Assembly regarding this organisation’s membership.
11.6. Any Ordinary Member failing to pay regular membership fees for three or more years may be expelled from the WFD.
11.7. Ordinary Members desiring to withdraw from the WFD may resign the organisation by informing the organisation’s board or its President in writing. The Ordinary Members may also resign by giving a notice thereof at the association’s meeting for entry in the minutes.
11.8. The Ordinary Members are responsible for their payment of membership fees to the WFD Secretariat every year.
11.9. The Ordinary Members are obligated to inform the WFD Secretariat about changes or amendments in their statutes as well as in their boards.
11.10. Upon full payment of their annual membership fees, the Ordinary Members shall be entitled to full participatory and voting rights at all meetings of WFD.
11.11. Any Ordinary Member who has not paid its due membership fee for a period of one year before the opening of the WFD General Assembly or WFD extraordinary assembly may not use its voting right.
12.2. Associate Members (AMs) are expected to support the aims of WFD and an application must be supported by their Ordinary Member if their country has an Ordinary Member.
12.3. The WFD Board approves Associate Membership.
12.4. Associate Membership status remains until the member resigns or is expelled by the Board.
12.5. The Associate Members are responsible for payment of membership fees as determined by the Board.
12.6. The Associate Members, upon payment of their annual membership fees, are entitled to observer status and participatory rights at the General Assembly of WFD. The Associate Members do not have voting rights at the General Assembly of WFD.
13.2. The Board of the WFD approves International Membership.
13.3. The International Members upon payment of their annual membership fees are entitled to observer status and, subject to approval by the General Assembly, participatory rights at the General Assembly of WFD. The International Members do not have voting rights at the General Assembly of WFD.
13.4. WFD will endeavour to give the International Members all possible support as each International Member is entitled to receive advice and documents when seeking rights, benefits and solutions.
Candidates for Honorary Membership may be proposed by the Board for approval by the General Assembly. Their names and resumes shall be submitted to the General Assembly.
14.2. Honorary Membership may end if the person resigns Honorary Membership.
14.3. Honorary Members have the right to participate in board meetings and other activities of WFD with no voting status, and shall receive all information from WFD.
15.2. The Board of the WFD approves Individual Membership.
15.3. Individual membership status remains until the member resigns or is expelled by the Board.
15.4. The Individual Members may observe the General Assembly as observers with no signing and voting rights.
15.5. The Individual Members are entitled to receive information from WFD and other membership privileges as determined by the Board.
16.2. The Board of the WFD approves Youth Ordinary Membership (YOM).
16.3. Youth Ordinary Membership (YOM) status remains until the member resigns or is expelled by the Board.
16.4. Youth Ordinary Members have no signing or voting rights at the General Assembly.
16.5. The Youth Ordinary Members are responsible for payment of an annual membership fee as determined by the WFD Board.
17.2. The Board of the WFD approves Individual Youth Membership.
17.3. Individual Youth Membership (IYM) status membership status remains until the member resigns or is expelled by the Board.
17.4. The Individual Youth Members may observe the General Assembly as observers with no signing and voting rights
17.5. The Individual Youth Members are entitled to receive information from WFDYS and other membership privileges as determined by the WFDYS board.
18.2. The decision-making power lies in the General Assembly. The executive body responsible to the General Assembly is the Board elected by the GA. The Secretariat is the administrative body.
19.2. The General Assembly shall be held every four years. The President and the Secretariat shall call the General Assembly at least twelve (12) months in advance. Their call shall be accompanied by a proposed Agenda.
19.3. A General Assembly has the decision-making power when it has been called according to the Statutes.
19.4. Proposals for inclusion in the Agenda shall be received at least six (6) months in advance. The final agenda with attached reports and other materials shall be sent to all Ordinary Members at least two (2) months in advance.
a) to decide on submitted reports by the Board on activities of WFD;
b) to review and adopt submitted audited financial reports and to discharge the Board and auditors from liability for the accounts;
c) to consider expulsion of Ordinary Members who have failed to pay regular membership fees for more than four years and/or without any valid reason;
d) to develop action plans for future activities;
e) to review and give new policy guidelines for WFD;
f) to consider and vote on all submitted recommendations, motions and proposals;
g) to consider and approve amendments to the Statutes of WFD.
h) to decide on limits for membership fees;
i) to elect officers and members of the Board of WFD;
j) to appoint the auditor, and a deputy auditor
k) to determine the site of the World Congress of WFD; and
l) to confer Honorary Membership upon deserving individuals.
20.2. Delegates attending the General Assembly shall assume the responsibility for their own travel and other expenses.
20.3. International Sign shall be used for communication within the General Assembly. All delegates shall assume responsibility for acquiring a working knowledge of International Sign.
21.2. Voting may be by roll call, by show of hands, or, if requested by at least one (1) delegate, by secret ballot.
21.3. All questions except proposals for amendments in the Statutes or for the dissolution of WFD may be decided by a simple majority vote of the valid votes cast. Amendments to the Statutes require two-third majority of the valid votes cast.
21.4. In the event of a tied vote, not including election results, the chair shall re-open debate on a particular question and then call for a new vote from the General Assembly. In the event of a second tied vote, the President’s vote decides, except at the elections where a ballot system will operate.
22.2. A final agenda with attached reports shall be sent to all Ordinary Members at least one (1) month in advance.
23.2. Ordinary Members may make nominations for office in the Board. Ordinary Members should be prepared to commit travel and maintenance support to enable such elected board members to participate in meetings of the Board and its standing committees. If funds are available, WFD will provide such support to Board members, with priority given to those from developing countries.
23.3. In the election of Board Members, the General Assembly shall follow the United Nations (UN) principles of gender equality and adequate regional parts in the world shall be taken into consideration.
23.4. The President shall open the meetings of the General Assembly and presides over the Board meetings.
23.5. The Vice President shall open meetings of the General Assembly and the Board whenever the President is unable to attend.
23.6. The Board Members shall serve for the good of WFD. Members of the Board are elected for a four-year term, and may be re-elected.
23.7. The Board Members shall perform various duties as assigned by the Board.
23.8. At all other international conferences, the President, Vice President and Board Members shall be official representatives of WFD only, understanding that they are not also representing other organisations. The Board may also appoint another person to represent WFD at international or national meetings.
24.2. Should the Vice President die, retire or become incapacitated the Board at its next meeting appoint a Vice President from among the members at large.
24.3. Should a vacancy, apart from the President or Vice President, appear, the Board will call an extraordinary meeting to elect a new member.
24.4. If a Board Member is absent from two consecutive board meetings without any valid reason, he or she may be expelled by the Board.
26.2. The Secretariat shall be responsible both to the Board and under the direction of the President. Members of the Secretariat have no voting privileges at the Board meetings as well as at the General Assembly.
26.3 The Board shall define the duties of the Secretariat.
27.2. The Finance Committee supports the Board and the Secretariat in administration of the WFD finances.
1. establish Internal Rules and
2. take over the responsibility for financial and moral support for the activities of their Regional Secretariat
29.2. An official name for the Regional Secretariat is subject to Board approval. The administrator of a Regional Secretariat shall be called the Regional Director.
29.3. The aims and activities of each Regional Secretariat must comply with those outlined in Article 8 of the Statutes of the WFD.
29.4. All Regional Secretariats shall cooperate with and report to the WFD Secretariat. In case of mismanagement, the Board may request the Ordinary Members of the Regional Secretariat to appoint a new person as Regional Director.
29.5. An Ordinary Member cannot be a member of more than one Regional Secretariat.
29.6. Representatives of Regional Secretariats have the right to participate in Board meetings but do not have voting rights.
30.2. The aims and activities of each Regional Cooperating Member must be compatible with those outlined in Article 8 of the Statutes.
30.3. All Regional Cooperating Members are independent entities but should cooperate with and report to the Secretariat.
30.4. Representatives of Regional Cooperating Members have the right to participate in board meetings but do not have voting rights.
31.2. The President of the WFDYS or his substitute may participate in meetings of the Board without voting rights with the purpose to share youth issues with the Board.
31.3. The WFD Secretariat shall send official information on youth-related issues to both Ordinary Members and Youth Ordinary Members.
32.2. All bids and organising activities to do with the WFD Congress shall adhere to Board-approved requirements as stipulated in the Internal Rules.
34.2. The classification of the World Bank is used for the grouping of all membership categories.
34.3. The General Assembly shall appoint a certified public accountant and a deputy auditor. This auditor shall examine all financial records and accounts and prepare a yearly report to be attached to the final agenda for the General Assembly.
34.4. The accounts must be balanced and finalised by the end of February in order for the auditor to complete the report by 1 April.
36.2. After a careful review by the Board, the Secretariat shall send all proposed amendments along with the Board’s recommendations to all the Ordinary Members at least three (3) months before the incoming General Assembly.
38.2 Voting on such a proposal shall be taken at a General Assembly or an extraordinary meeting. Motions for dissolution must receive approval from three fourths (3/4) of Ordinary Members present.
38.3. In the event of dissolution, WFD shall transfer all its funds and other assets to another registered or government organisation with the aims similar to those of the WFD and in accordance with instructions from the General Assembly after its final decision.