Deaf/DeafBlind Rights in Bulgaria


To address and to combat disability rights issues in Bulgaria, we must honestly reveal the truth of why it is still persisting to occur to have no improvements since the communism has collapsed in 1989. No activities were ever involved to represent about improving the disability rights till four years ago it has started. So far from the year of 2014, the activities to improve the disability rights for deaf/deafblind remain to be the same with no big change to happen. Being observer and witnessing the true facts going on in Bulgaria, I am saying it is time to bring with a big change involving the true activism. Passivity with no activism is not going to help to improve with a big change on the disability rights for deaf/deafblind community.

Disability rights issues for the deaf and deafblind communities for the whole country is most related with the legal matters regarding of recognizing officially the Bulgarian Sign Language, the educational access via sign language interpreters, employment access with security being provided with disability rights law and health care access to information/communication via sign language interpreters. Poverty and disability reinforce each other, contributing to increased vulnerability and exclusion. We have nothing including the necessary resources needed to provide. Bulgarian Sign Language is very poor with no linguistic analysis being provided, there are no good quality of sign language interpreters, oralisim continues to exist in all deaf high schools without sign language signing being provided and no bilingual education for all deaf/deafblind children. Sign language and bilingualism without oralism and good quality of sign language interpretation are all the main cores the community needs for every single life.

Deaf/deafblind people in Bulgaria experience discrimination and oppression every single day. The issue is not what the deaf/deafblind people see in the West as well as in the US. It is being said in this way because the discrimination and the oppression is unnecessary to have projected toward the deaf/deafblind community. The society in whole need to learn and accept the deaf/deafblind people including their identity with their culture. All those in that community have so many talents to share, to contribute within the society and be useful for the society except that they cannot hear plus cannot hear and see at the same time. Parents of the deaf/deafblind young adult need to learn and believe in them that they can do it in achieving to study whatever major field they are interested at the university. No parents should ever say NO to their own children that they cannot study for example in LAW. Being deaf and being deafblind don’t prevent them to study LAW. Studying Law or any other major is for everyone. Within the UN CRPD, all deaf/deafblind people including all other disabled people have the opportunity to participate in their societies and to enjoy their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights on an equal basis with others.

Within this community, the fact is that we do not have a strong implementation from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) into local law when Bulgaria did ratify for it officially. This matter remained to stall for so many years without even anyone to give a care that it is important for that community to have an ideal protection with powerful law for disability rights. The Bulgarian government including the experts in the field of disability rights mainly those who are deaf/deafblind should be involved to participate in providing a guidance of how the law regarding of the UN CRPD need to be implemented. It is very good idea to have specific law established for disability rights that explains and provide the provisions about the right to accessibility services with total participation in the society that involves to have the equal bases with others. This is the idea applying for an example the US has and that’s the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Only the deaf/deafblind are the true experts for this matter and they can do it. Importantly, they know well the deaf culture and sign language in order to understand the needs the deaf/deafblind community shall meet accordingly to the UN CRPD. “Overlooking and ignoring the plight of disabled people is not an option that an acceptable theory of justice can have”, a notable thinker said. Deaf/deafblind people are part of the disability rights group and are human beings with full rights!

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