Statement by Timo Soini, Chair of the Committee of Ministers, on the use of sign languages in Europe

Presidency of the Committee of Ministers Strasbourg 14 May 2019
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Timo Soini

Timo Soini

“I welcome the support expressed today by the Committee of Ministers to the promotion and protection of sign languages in Europe”, stated Timo Soini, Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland on 14 May. In a reply to the Parliamentary Assembly’s Recommendation 2143 (2019) on Protecting and promoting sign languages, the Committee of Ministers underlined the importance of sign languages as natural languages of deaf persons and recognised that it would be of importance to improve the understanding of how sign languages are protected and promoted in all Council of Europe member States.

“Sign languages have the status of official language in Finland. Under our Presidency, a study on Sign language rights in the framework of the Council of Europe and its member States was prepared by a Finnish expert, Ms Eeva Tupi, and presented during the April part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly. A Finnish sign language rap artist, Signmark, also performed on the same occasion. These events contributed to raising awareness about sign languages and about the rights of deaf persons. I hope that the Council of Europe will continue to pay close attention to the promotion and protection of sign languages.”

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