25/03/2002

Human rights for deaf people highlighted in County Tyrone

Northern Ireland junior minister Denis Haughey has praised the British Deaf Association for its work on human rights issues on behalf of deaf people.

The minister was speaking at a conference in Cookstown, organised by the British Deaf Association, entitled ‘Human Rights – Deaf Left Behind?’ which is part of the charity’s campaign to raise awareness of deafness issues amongst the public.

Speaking on Monday March 25 Mr Haughey said: "We must promote a culture of respect for human rights in which there is protection for everyone. This administration is committed to equality for all and is acutely aware of the need to promote human rights and equality issues throughout the community.”

The conference also marked the re-launch and expansion of the British Deaf Association’s ‘Visible Voices’ project, which aims to improve access to health and social services for deaf people.

Mr Haughey said the conference was especially important in that it had brought deaf people and public policy makers together for face-to-face discussion and debate.

"While we fully recognise that deaf people are entitled to the same basic human rights as the hearing community, public authorities also need to recognise the barriers faced by deaf people in claiming their rights,” Mr Haughey added.

“I encourage all public authorities to adopt the ‘Visible Voices’ approach, which shows the value of good communication in breaking down the barriers in society - barriers to services and information, barriers to understanding and perhaps barriers to human rights.”

(AMcE)

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