From 12 to 15 June 2017, the Civil Society Forum and the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (COSP) was held in New York, USA. The WFD was represented by Human Rights Officer Ms Eeva Tupi and Board Member Mr Florjan Rojba. WFD President Mr Colin Allen was also present in his capacity as International Disability Alliance (IDA) Chair.
Among those attending the COSP were representatives of national governments and civil society. The WFD took the opportunity to present a statement during the General Debate of the COSP and organise a side event. Mr Florjan Rojba was one of the panellists at the side event organised by the UNESCO. At the COSP roundtable discussion, Mr Ram Kushal Pant from the National Federation of the Deaf in Nepal (WFD Ordinary Member) shared his country’s experience pertaining to Article 11 of the CRPD.
Call for more capacity building and training
WFD’s statement requested national governments, UN agencies and other stakeholders to provide resources for capacity building and training for national associations of the deaf to strengthen their ability to participate in implementing the CRPD at the national level. Also crucial in promoting the participation of deaf leaders of national deaf associations is ensuring available resources to train, accredit and monitor professional sign language interpreters. Without sign language interpretation, deaf people are unable to participate on an equal basis. The statement is available here: https://wfdeaf.org/news/resources/wfd-statement-10th-session-conference-states-parties-crpd/
Sign language is essential to the human rights of deaf people
Panellists of the WFD side event “Full inclusion in education – possible by 2030?” presented best practices and concerns on the current state of deaf education around the world. Dr Krister Schönström from Sweden shared his country’s experience in bilingual education (incorporating Swedish Sign Language) over the past 30 years. Results had shown that deaf people were as successful as hearing peers when provided quality education in sign language.
Dr Marlon Kuntze from the USA highlighted the importance of dialogic pedagogy being available in sign language, so that deaf students are able to effectively ask questions of teachers and allow them to cultivate students’ cognitive, linguistic and academic skills.
Mr Ram Kushal Pant from Nepal presented on how education has been made available in sign language in a developing country. Dr Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg from the UNESCO presented the World Atlas of Endangered Languages and its plans to include sign languages in future mappings. Mr Florjan Rojba provided updates on WFD’s work on promoting the status of sign languages and deaf education, and suggested an international day of sign languages to be adopted by the UN.