CRPD Committee Elections

The WFD contacted all candidates for the upcoming CRPD Committee elections. Over 3/4ths of those who responded replied to our three questions. These are the candidates who responded:

  • Ms. Eufémia Maria Guila AMELA – Mozambique
  • Ms. Soumia AMRANI – Morocco
  • Ms. Claire Lucille AZZOPARDI LANE – Malta 
  • Ms. Gerel DONDOVDORJ – Mongolia 
  • Ms. Vivian FERNÁNDEZ DE TORRIJO – Panama
  • Ms. Odelia FITOUSSI – Israel
  • Ms. Sif HOLST – Denmark
  • Ms. Ivanka JOVANOVIC – Serbia
  • Mr. Samuel KABUE – Kenya 
  • Ms. Katarzyna ROSZEWSKA – Poland
  • Ms. Saowalak THONGKUAY – Thailand
  • Ms. Benafsha YAQOOBI – Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

We asked them:

  1. Will they support a General Comment on the right to sign language?
  2. As a CRPD Committee Member, will they support the views of the WFD and International Disability Alliance on inclusive education, as expressed in the WFD’s position paper and the IDA’s Global Report on Inclusive Education?
  3. Will they work to ensure State Parties recognize and promote their national sign languages?

We are happy to say 100% of the respondents replied in the affirmative to our three questions! The WFD looks forward to working with the next CRPD Committee to ensure deaf people have full access to education and to life in their national sign languages.

Here are the details of the questions we sent to the CRPD Committee candidates

1.The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is aiming to see a General Comment on the rights of deaf people to use sign languages adopted by the CRPD Committee. The rights of deaf people to use their most natural languages, namely national sign languages, is a cross-cutting issue encompassing several articles of the CRPD and is crucial to enable the inclusion and participation of deaf people in their societies. During the International Day of Sign Languages 2020, the Chair of the CRPD Committee, Mr Danlami Umaru Basharu made a public commitment to supporting the adoption of a General Comment on the right to sign languages and working with at WFD for its adoption. As CRPD Committee member, would you endorse the adoption of a General Comment on the rights to sign languages of deaf people and commit to working with the WFD at every stages of its process until approval?

2. The WFD’s Position Paper on Inclusive Education highlights the right of deaf learners to quality education with direct instruction in their national sign languages by teachers fluent in these languages. Educational settings for deaf children must be inclusive, follow the official governmental curriculum and achieve required learning outcomes. Deaf children must be surrounded by their signing peers and deaf adult role models. These principles has been adopted by the IDA Global Report on Inclusive Education. This report introduces the concept of inclusive bilingual schools in the national sign languages and national written languages. Early access to national sign languages by deaf children and of national sign languages as languages of instruction are of paramount importance to ensure critical language acquisition. As a CRPD Committee member, would you endorse and promote the views and stances of both the WFD and the IDA regarding inclusive education for deaf children?

3. There are more than 200 national sign languages used by more than 70 million deaf people around the globe. Yet, of the 82 States Parties to the UN which have ratified the CRPD, only 54 of these States Parties have legal recognition of their national sign language(s). Robust national sign languages legislation is the first step to the realisation of the human rights of the deaf people. As a CRPD Committee member, would you work to ensure State Parties recognise and promote the fundamental rights of deaf people to sign languages, with actionable rights, as per Art. 21 CRPD?