In the framework of the celebration of the XI Helen Keller World Conference, today, the 27th of June 2018, on the 50th anniversary of Helen Keller’s death, deafblind people from more than 50 countries come together to celebrate the International Day of Deafblind People. To raise awareness, to let society know about us, and to show our needs but also our abilities, we state the following:
Deafblindness is a unique disability that consist of a combination of two sensorial losses, both hearing and visual, that generate major problems for having a global perception, as well as difficulties for communication, training and information access. It also generates important difficulties for mobility. Therefore, it is essential for us to have professionals that know our communication systems.
A challenge faced by FASOCIDE, an organisation managed by Deafblind people, is to achieve equal treatment and opportunities, as well as a real and effective exercise of the rights of deafblind people, as it is stated on the Spanish Constitution, articles 9.2, 10, 14 y 49, as well as in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the People with Disabilities.
For the reasons above mentioned, we deafblind people demand the following:
- To be able to have an independent living, fully participating in every aspect of life. Public bodies should adopt the measures to guarantee universal accessibility for deafblind people.
- To be able to freely exercise the right to decision making on equal basis with the rest of the citizens. For doing so, public bodies will facilitate the measures that make possible the access to a stable and qualified guide-interpreting service. This fact will contribute to eliminate communication barriers and facilitate social inclusion and effective participation of deafblind people in every sphere of life.
- To have access to the required human resources, e.g. professional interpreters for deafblind people, communication mediators, as well as access to technologies.
- To promote the use and research on new technologies. New technologies represent a revolution to access communication and information for deafblind people.
- All over the Spanish territory it should be promoted the development and innovation in accessible resources, improving the services available for deafblind people and the qualification of the professionals working with this collective.
- We ask the administrations and entities to work together with us. For this, we offer to facilitate information, advice and technical support to public bodies, institutions.
- To be able to offer training courses covering topics related to deafblindness, and offer advice and guidance to people with deafblindness, families and professionals in different fields (social services, health system, etc.).
- To promote research on and the implementation of different and specific communication systems used by deafblind people, aiming to disseminate them and promote their use among the whole group of deafblind people.
- Women and girls with deafblindness face stronger and multiple forms of discrimination, in a higher degree than the rest of women and girls with disabilities as a consequence of the uniqueness of deafblindness and how it affects every sphere of our lives. For this reason, when designing specific public policies, we have to be taken into consideration, and measures should be adopted to guarantee that we can fully enjoy our fundamental rights on equal basis with the rest of women and girls with and without disabilities.
- Deafblind youth is willing to live our lives joyfully as the rest of Spanish youth, having the same opportunities as them in every field of our lives.
For all the above mentioned, deafblind people appeal to public bodies and demand the following:
It is urgent to legally recognise deafblindness as a unique disability and protected by a LAW which guarantees that we will fully enjoy human rights.
We demand an official census in order to know the exact number of people with deafblindness.
We demand public bodies to acknowledge that access to communication is a right, and therefore we have the right to have access to mediators or interpreters for deafblind people.
Public bodies have to be aware that without economic resources we can not develop the programmes that guarantee universal accessibility.
Only if our demands are fulfilled, our motto will be asserted: “Our rights, our voice, we lead the way”