A historic Written Declaration on the rights of deafblind people was formally adopted by the European Parliament on 1 st April, 2004. This was the culmination of a long campaign by deafblind people, families and professionals in Europe. The Written Declaration is a 200 word statement about the fact that deafblindness is a distinct disability. It lists the rights to which deafblind people should be entitled.
There are at least 150,000 deafblind citizens livings in the European Union. The personal testimony which forms the basis of this report, reveals a group of people who count as amongst the most socially excluded citizens in Europe. They face unique disadvantages in a world that is organised for the hearing and sighted.
2001 May. VIENNA (AUSTRIA) seminar, Deafblind people, family members and professionals working together
Austria is a country with a special geography. The country is divided in several regions. Each region has its own laws and structure. That is the reason why awareness raising and initiatives involving deafblind children and adults are done on a regional or local level. This EDbN conference in Vienna on the 19th and 20th of May this year was a good opportunity for the different local projects to get to know each other and share experiences with each other and with all the other participants from allover Europe.
Our EDbN seminar on the 20th of May 2000 in Ancona, Italy was on all aspects of equal opportunity for deafblind people. We have started a new area, where policy starts from the point of view of deafblind people themselves. There is the anti discrimination clause in article 13 in the Amsterdam Treaty and in different countries new laws are being prepared to seek equal opportunities for disabled people. Disability is not only a social issue, it became a human rights issue towards full citizenship.