MEPs lend a hand to deafblind drive

More than 320 MEPs have signed a declaration urging Europe to recognise the disability deafblindness after an intense six-month lobbying push by the European Deafblind Network.

The campaign, managed by deafblind and rubella charity Sense campaigns officer Lucy Drescher and press and PR officer Sandeep Shah, worked with the office of Richard Howitt MEP to raise awareness of the disability to a level at which nation states could recognise the condition.

The charity believes about 23,000 people in the UK suffer dual sensory impairment and says there are as many as 150,000 deafblind individuals across the EU.

‘Deafblindness is a combination of both sight and hearing impairments,’ said Sense head of campaigns Sue Brown. ‘Yet many European countries do not even recognise it as a distinct disability.’

In the only written declaration on disability to be passed in the European Parliament in the past five years, the EU has recognised the condition but cannot impose that recognition on members.

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