BDA Welcomes Framework for Promoting BSL in Northern Ireland

BDA Welcomes Framework for Promoting BSL in Northern Ireland
2nd December 2015 James Brooke

BDA Welcomes Framework for Promoting BSL in Northern Ireland

In Client News, Business pr

The British Deaf Association (BDA) is delighted to welcome a commitment from Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, to publish and consult a Framework for promoting Sign Language in 2016.

The Minister made this announcement to support Sign Languages and the people who use them in the Assembly on Sign Language Legislation on Tuesday 1 December 2015. She stated that she intends to change the following challenges faced by British and Irish Sign Language users in Northern Ireland:

–      There is no statutory protection for either language

–      They are not covered by the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages

–      There is no formal Executive agreed policy or strategy document for Irish and British Sign Languages

The Minister, who has listened carefully to the views of the Deaf community, stated she wanted to support the efforts of Deaf people by providing legislation to safeguard their rights as a cultural and linguistic minority and enable them to access services in their own language.

Dr Terry Riley OBE, Chairman of British Deaf Association (BDA), said: “We are thrilled to hear that Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has committed to publishing a Framework which will promote Sign Language in Northern Ireland. This is fantastic news for the Deaf community and would be a huge step forward for the equal rights of Deaf people in Northern Ireland. We’re pleased to see Northern Ireland following in the footsteps of Scotland, who passed the historic BSL (Scotland) Act in September, and hope other UK governments will also follow suit.”

Minister Carál Ní Chuilín announced her intention to publish and consult on a Framework for Sign Language in the New Year. She has already written to Ministerial colleagues in order to seek their support and commitments. She also announced her intention to engage in pre-consultation through the Sign Language Partnership, with some additional membership.

BDA, a registered charity which has been a pioneer and champion of Deaf people since it was founded in 1890, is driven by two main aims: the promotion of British Sign Language (BSL) – which is a language in its own right, separate and distinct from spoken English – and the right to bi-lingual education in the United Kingdom. The organisation’s vision is one of Deaf Equality, Access and Freedom of Choice.

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About British Deaf Association

The British Deaf Association (BDA), a registered charity in England, Wales and Scotland, was founded in 1890. BDA is the only Deaf-led organisation that represents the Deaf community. Its two main aims are the promotion of BSL and the right to bi-lingual education

BDA stands for Deaf Equality, Access and Freedom of Choice and its work is focused on Deaf people being independent and able to make informed decisions. Deaf people can do anything a hearing person can – they just use a different language to do it. The charity champions the rights of Deaf people to use their first language – British Sign Language, which is a language in its own right, separate and distinct from spoken English.

BDA, which has been a pioneer and champion of Deaf people for 125 years, advocates a cultural model of Deafness where language acquisition, not speech, is paramount in determining the child’s character and ability to function in our modern world.  Deaf people have a rich cultural history, passionately embrace their identity and choose to use their first language – BSL.

For more information on British Deaf Association, please go to http://www.bda.org.uk/.

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