Bustinduy and Urtasun join forces to broaden access to culture for deaf people

Apr 8, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Interview, Portada, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Minister of Social Rights and the Minister of Culture preside over an event to commemorate the declaration of cultural expressions linked to deaf culture and Spanish sign language as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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Join forces to broaden access to culture for deaf people

The Minister of Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and Agenda 2030, Pablo Bustinduy, and the Minister of Culture, Ernest Urtasun, have presided over an event to celebrate the declaration of cultural expressions linked to Spanish sign language as Intangible Cultural Heritage. The event was held at the headquarters of the State Confederation of Deaf People (CNSE) and its Foundation, and served to commemorate this declaration, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 6 February and helps to protect the cultural heritage of the social and cultural features that characterise all deaf signers in Spain.

This declaration was approved by Royal Decree at the proposal of the Ministry of Culture, through the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage and Fine Arts, and also at the proposal of the Ministry of Social Rights, which is part of the Royal Board on Disability and the Centre for Linguistic Normalisation of Spanish Sign Language, the precursor body of the dossier for this declaration.

“Languages are necessary for the effective exercise of human rights, and Spanish sign language represents a unique way of symbolising and recreating the world that enriches us as a society and also allows us to understand each other in diversity,” said Pablo Bustinduy. The Minister for Social Rights also pointed out that, in addition to this institutional recognition of sign language and deaf culture, it is also important to guarantee access to culture for deaf people. “We must put an end to the barriers that hinder the participation of people with disabilities in cultural life,” said Pablo Bustinduy. For this reason, he announced, the Ministries of Social Rights and Culture are going to work together to implement, during this legislature, the first Plan for the Right to Culture for People with Disabilities. The aim, Pablo Bustinduy stressed, is to guarantee better accessibility to our artistic and historical heritage and to promote people with disabilities as creators and cultural agents.

The Minister for Social Rights also wanted to highlight the Royal Decree approving the regulations on the conditions for the use of Spanish sign language, which led to the legal recognition of the natural language of deaf people, thus fulfilling a historical demand of this group. Likewise, Pablo Bustinduy highlighted the value of the budgetary contribution offered by Spanish sign languages. “We are allocating almost 900,000 euros so that users of this language can have interpreters for their daily procedures, such as medical consultations or tutorials, and another 500,000 euros for research and dissemination of this language,” he said.

For his part, the Minister of Culture, Ernest Urtasun, has given the deaf community as an example of inclusion, explaining that “when we talk about heritage we tend to think of great monuments, walls or cathedrals, natural sites worthy of conservation, but heritage is also those intangible assets that delimit the perimeter of a culture”. For this reason, he said, “Spanish Sign Language and the cultural expressions of deaf culture extend this perimeter, making our culture and our collective understanding of reality greater. Furthermore, they contribute definitively to eliminating the barriers that impede the passage of deaf people, barriers of which, in many cases, we hearing people are not aware”.