In the petition read by Alex Ndeezi, the chairperson Uganda National Association for the Deaf, they note that the constitution requires government to promote sign language in educational institutions and service provision. They are, however, concerned that currently the deaf in Uganda pay for sign language interpreters to enable them access services.
Through Uganda National Association of the Deaf -UNAD, they presented their petition to State Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Peace Mutuuzo, who was Chief Guest at the national event to mark the International Deaf Awareness Week.
The event was held today at the Golf Course in Lira town. The theme for the event was ''Agenda 2013: Leave No Deaf Person Behind.''
In the petition read by Alex Ndeezi, the UNAD chairperson, the deaf expressed concerns that without a language and communication, they can never attain any development.
They note that the constitution obliges government to promote sign language in educational institutions and service provision. They are, however, concerned that currently the deaf in Uganda pay for sign language interpreters to enable them access services.
In the petition, they now want government to come up with a constitutional provision directing all local governments and urban councils to include budget provisions for training sign language to service providers, deaf persons and their families.
They also want government to engage the Ministry of Public Service to include sign language interpreters in public service structure.
They argue that sign language interpreters will go a long way to help government ensure equality in access to mandatory public services such as health, justice, education and information among others.
They note that the deaf have been left out of mainstream development and service delivery due to lack of sign language interpreters in public service.
On her part, Minister Mutuuzo noted that sign language is a constitutional obligation and that government will continue to promote awareness on importance of sign language especially to service providers.
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She says government wants to factor in sign language in the new policy on official language to ensure it is included in the national curriculum to benefit all.
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According to World Health World Organisation, there are one billion deaf people globally. In Uganda, the 2014 census puts the total number of the deaf at over one million people.