Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

MADRID (EFE).- Adapted teleassistance for deaf adults, accessible emergency and health services, removing barriers that prevent them from working in sign language or in certain positions from childhood. These are some of the demands of deaf people with more than a million Spaniards

“We want to live in a just and democratic society where the rights of all citizens are valued equally,” they said in the manifesto of the State Confederation of Deaf People (CNSE) on the International Day of the Deaf, which is celebrated. This Saturday, September 24.

Throughout the week, people with hearing impairments are conducting activities to make visible the barriers and prejudices that still prevent them from full social and labor participation.

Like those who lived during the pandemic, the Filomena storm, the La Palma volcano eruption or the forest fires this summer. These were emergencies where people with deafness had trouble accessing notices, information about what was happening, or instructions given to the entire population for their safety and security.

“Let the whole world hear”

“Can you imagine living in a risk or emergency situation and not knowing what is happening, what to do or how to protect yourself? This is how more than a million hearing impaired people in Spain experience it”.

Thus begins this Wednesday the campaign “Hear the whole world” by the Spanish Confederation of Families of Deaf People (Fiapas), which this year is dedicated to emergencies. With the slogan “An Urgent Commitment”, the initiative shows in a poignant video the vulnerability, difficulties and risks that deafness suffers.

Families want to be informed of arrangements and resources for access to hearing aids and information so that they are considered in planning and anticipating emergency resources and actions.

Deaf-people-rights
Actress Neria Garmendia, Leonardo Marcos (2i), José Luis Martínez Donoso (2d), Miguel Ángel Martínez Ávila (i), and FIAPUS President Luis Edo (c) at a campaign presentation this Thursday. EFE/ Borja Sánchez-Trillo

“When we call 112, the center knows which phone number is being called and where we are,” explained Leonardo Marcos, director general of the Ministry of Interior’s Civil Protection and Emergencies Department, in a presentation on the campaign. However, he acknowledged that the system is designed for voice communication only, so his department is working with social rights on how to incorporate the latest technological advances that improve accessibility.

From the ONCE Foundation, Jose Luis Martínez Donoso called for the creation of an emergency plan for people with disabilities FIAPAS President José Luis Edo called for resources that take into account the needs of all deaf people, such as subtitling in media or sign language interpretation services.

Blue facade in sign language

Symbolic buildings in over a hundred countries will light up their facades in turquoise blue, the color that marks the deaf community this Friday, September 23, on International Sign Language Day.

There are more than 300 sign languages ​​around the world and 66 countries legally recognize their national sign languages, including Spain-Spanish and Catalan-.

But recognition is not enough, warns the CNSE, which expresses the urgency of approving a regulation that creates the law (2007) by which sign languages ​​are recognized in Spain. The aim is to ensure their presence in all areas and to contribute to ending the ignorance and prejudices that still persist about these languages.

It is also included in the Spanish Constitution, in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ​​and in any law. “Sign languages ​​are a human right and as such, they must be protected and promoted”, emphasized its president, Roberto Suarez. “If we are deprived of its exercise, its recognition is of little use,” he added.

For this reason, the Confederation of the Deaf advocates normalizing the learning and use of sign language among deaf children, providing these students with bilingual centers with interpreters and experts in that language.

According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), there are 1,230,000 people with various types and degrees of hearing impairment. Of these, about 98% use oral language to communicate and 2.2% (27,300) use sign language.

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