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Protecting and promoting sign languages in Europe

Recommendation 2143 (2018)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 23 November 2018 (see Doc. 14660, report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, rapporteur: Ms Miren Edurne Gorrotxategui).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2247 (2018) on protecting and promoting sign languages in Europe, in which it calls on member States to officially recognise sign languages as natural languages of deaf communities and as a means of ensuring the inclusion of deaf people in society.
2. The Assembly refers to the obligations deriving from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by 46 Council of Europe member States, which also calls for the official recognition of sign languages by States.
3. The replies from the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly’s Recommendations 1492 (2001) on the rights of national minorities and 1598 (2003) on the protection of sign languages in the member States of the Council of Europe were adopted a number of years before the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There have been rapid advances in this field in recent years and the question of the status of sign languages once again arises in the light of these developments.
4. Consequently, the Assembly invites the Committee of Ministers to:
4.1 bring Resolution 2247 (2018) to the attention of the governments of member States;
4.2 set up a working group on the status and protection of sign languages in the Council of Europe member States with a view to the possible drafting of standards for the protection of sign languages;
4.3 ask the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (COMEX) to suggest that States provide information on the status and protection of sign languages during monitoring visits, if they so desire.