Published by: EUD

European Parliament Resolution on Sign Languages 1988

The following text is the first Resolution of the European Parliament on Sign Languages. It was adopted on 17 June 1988.

Sign Languages for the deaf
-Doc A2-302/87

Resolution on Sign Languages for the Deaf

The European Parliament
-having regard to its resolution of 13 November 1985 on a people`s Europe,

- having regard to the Commission communication to the Council of 29 October 1981 on the social integration of handicapped people and to the Council resolution of 21 December 1981 on the same subject,

- having regard to the motions for a resolution tabled by:

Mr KUIJPERS and Mr VANDEMEULEBROUCKE on the standardisation of sign language for the deaf (Doc. B2-767/85), and

by Mr CHIABRANDO and others on television broadcasts for the deaf and dumb (Doc. B2-1192/85),

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Youth, Culture, Education, Information and Sport (Doc. A2-302/87),

A. Whereas there are half a million profoundly deaf people and many times that number of partially hearing and deafened people in the Community,

B. Whereas most deaf people can never become proficient in spoken language,

C. Whereas sign language, which can be properly be regarded as a language in its own right, is the preferred or only language of most deaf people,

D. Recognising that sign language and sign language interpreters are one of the means by which the deaf gain access to information needed for everyday life as well as reading and television,

E. Wishing to promote the integration of deaf people into hearing society on terms fair to the deaf,

F. REcognising the major contribution of the World Federation of the DEaf (WFD) over the past decades to improving the lot of deaf people, and welcoming its creation of a Regional Secretariat covering the countries of the European Community,

1. Welcomes the concern expressed and the support provided to date by teh Commission to organisations representing deaf people in the Community;

Recognition of and Right to use a Sign Language

2. Calls on the Commission to make a proposal to the Council concerningofficial recognition of the sign language used by deaf people in each Member State;

3. Calls upon the Member States to abolish any remaining obstacles to the use of sign language;

Sign Language Interpretation

4. Stresses the importance of recognising sign language interpreting as a profession and of establishing a full time sign language interpreter training and employment programmes in each MEmber State under the responsibility of the national associations for the deaf;

5. Urges Member States, in consultation with the European REgional Secretariat of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), to submit projects for the training of sufficient numbers of sign language tutors, assessors and interpreters, for support under the European Social Fund;

6. Calls upon Community institutions to set an example by making provision, as a matter of principle for sign language interpretation at meetings organised under their auspices and attended by deaf people;

Sign Language and Television

7. Callsupon broadcasting authorities to include translation into sign language, or at least subtitles, of television news programmes, those of political interest and, to the extent possible, of a selection of cultural ad general interest programmes; also urges broadcasting authorities, in consultation with the European Regional Secretariat for the Deaf and the European Broadcasting Union, to determine minimum levels of provision of sign langauge interpretation or subtitling for programmes aimed at adults and children respectively, as well as teletext provision;

8. Urges Member States to ensure that all relevant government circulars on welfare benefits, health and employment are produced using sign language on video for the use of the deaf community;

9. Calls upon the COmmission to support research in the area of television services for the deaf;

Teaching Sign Language to the Hearing

10. Calls upon Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, to support pilot projects aimed at teaching sign language to hearing children and adults, using deaf people trained for the purpose and to back research in this area;

Sign Language Dictionaries

11. Urges MEmber States to support research into and publication of up-to-date dictionaries of their respective national sign languages; invites the Commission to foster such activities and in due course, to promote development of multilingual dictionaries of the sign languages in use within the Community;

Sign Language Exchanges

12. Invites the Commission to consider how, at a suitable juncture, Community level exchanges might best be brought about between those proficient in their respective countries` sign languages and cultures;

Institutional and Funding Aspects

13. Considers it essential that the deaf be fully involved in determining policy for the non-hearing at nationaland Community level, notably through the European Regional Secretariat of the WFD;

14. Calls for more generous funding under the Community budget for development of dervices for deaf people in the Member States;

15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Member States, the European Regional Secretariat of the World Federation of the Deaf, and the European Broadcasting Union.


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