Some of our recommendations for action which we submitted as a Shadow Report and then its updated report have been included in the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ report on the UK – Concluding observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland : –

“Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information (art. 21)

46. The Committee notes with concern:

(b) The insufficient resources for education, training and availability of and access to high-quality educated sign language interpreters, especially in relation to education, employment, health and leisure activities; and

(c) The lack of training and education of families, classmates, co-workers in high-quality sign language communication providing better abilities for inclusion within the community.

47. The Committee recommends that the State party, in consultation with organisations representing persons with disabilities:

(b) Ensure that legislation provides for the right to educated high-quality sign language interpretation and other forms of alternative communication in all spheres of life for deaf persons and hard of hearing persons in line with the Convention; and

(c) Allocate resources for education of children with hearing impairment, their families and others, such as classmates or co-workers in British Sign Language and tactile language”.

Our Shadow Report was sent in 2011, plus our Language Planning research paper as an update in 2016, to the UN Committee as the Committee has to report on what Member States are doing to enable disabled people in their countries.  It was the UK’s turn this year (delayed by four years due to a backlog).  Whilst the Committee’s findings are good with respect to the quality of BSL provision in schools, it has not addressed the need for more deaf children to be able to learn to sign.

Link to the UN Human Rights page re the UK report here.

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