In Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN and Association of Interpreters for the Deafblind of Slovenia TAKTIL, we are finding with outrage and sadness, that the fundamental principle “Nothing About Disabled People Without Disabled People” is being violated in the public debate on regulating the situation of people with deafblindness.
On Friday, March 25, 2022, the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia held a Constitutional Act on Development of Slovenian Sign Language and the Language of the Deafblind.
Neither the people with deafblindness nor their organization – the Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN, which is the only one is Slovenia that work exclusively with people with deafblindness, is the initiator of the development of the language of the deafblind and is being supported by the international organizations as the only representative organisation in Slovenia that exclusively defends the interests of people with deafblindness – were not invited to the consultation.
The Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN actively participated in the entire process of amending Article 62 a of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, which was adopted on May 21, 2021. At the initiative of the Expert Group of the Constitutional Commission, whose member was also the secretary and co-founder of the DLAN Association, dr. Simona Gerenčer, the proposal to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia expanded with the free use of Hungarian and Italian sign language in the areas of the municipalities where ethnic minorities live, and with the free use and development of the language of the deafblind.
After the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, the DLAN Association in cooperation with experts, prepared a proposal for the Act on Regulation of the Status and Rights of Persons with Deafblindness. The bill comprehensively and systematically regulated the status of people with deafblindness. With the support of Lions District 129 Slovenia and Rotary District 1912 Slovenia, we sent the bill to the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities in September 2021. In December 2021, the Ministry called for the nomination of members of the working group for the preparation of the Act on Regulation of the Status and Rights of Persons with Deafblindness. Despite the fact that more than 3 months have passed since the Ministry’s call, the expert group has not been appointed to date and no activities are taking place in this regard. Despite the need for rapid regulation, the status of people with deafblindness remains unregulated.
Instead of a further procedure for the adoption of the law, things proceed without the presence, consultation and cooperation of people with deafblindness and the DLAN Association. Violation of the fundamental principle “Nothing about the disabled without the disabled” means severe discrimination, deepening the exclusion of the most excluded and making decisions on behalf of the weakest, who are deprived of everything throughout their lives.
The DLAN Association calls on all decision-makers and other persons involved in the procedures for regulating the status of persons with deafblindness to respect the principle “Nothing about the disabled without the disabled” and to include people with deafblindness and the DLAN Association in the dialogue.
Members of the Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN
Expert services of The Deafblind Association of Slovenia DLAN and Association of Interpreters for the Deafblind of Slovenia TAKTIL