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Speeches, 2/14/2012

Secretary of State Mr. Pertti Torstila held a speech in a meeting when the Memorandum of Understanding between the World Federation of the Deaf and the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled was signed

Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Mr. Pertti Torstila held a speech on the 9th of February 2012 in a meeting when the Memorandum of Understanding between the World Federation of the Deaf and the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled was signed.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank you for the invitation to this meeting and for the opportunity to address you on this very special occasion, when the Memorandum of Understanding between the World Federation of the Deaf and the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled will be signed.

According to my knowledge, the World Federation of the Deaf is the first international organisation promoting the rights of the disabled people that is initiating co-operation of this kind with Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has supported the work of the World Federation of the Deaf and it is an honour for us to have played a small role in contributing to this co-operation. Having said this, it is clear that this initiative is first and foremost carried out by the deaf persons themselves.

The memorandum of understanding aims at very concrete results. One very important aim is to found an organisation for the deaf in North-Korea. This would benefit considerably the advocacy work done in the country. Another very concrete aim is to set up an education center for children. A center not only for the deaf children or children with disabilities, but for all children. This approach benefits all parties and offers a natural forum to foster mutual understanding between different groups. A third concrete aim is to organise visits for deaf people from other countries to North-Korea.

Overall, the memorandum of understanding will promote sharing of information and best practices in order to improve the situation of the deaf in North-Korea.

The memorandum of understanding is but one expression of the ongoing cooperation process between the World Federation of the Deaf and the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled. This cooperation has very important aims such as organising education for interpreters in sign language, producing a dictionary in sign language and promoting teaching of sign language, to name but a few.

Your efforts and this initiative shows, once again, the strengths of the civil society and the flexible manner on how it can build networks between people, regardless of state borders, or, even regardless of whether they are deaf or hearing.

I am particularly honoured, that this co-operation is officially inaugurated on Finnish ground. This also combines two very important themes for the international human rights policy of Finland – involvement of the civil society and the rights of persons with disabilities.

The realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities, including their participation in political life, is one of the five priorities of Finland’s international human rights policy.  We see that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is of utmost importance. In order to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention, Finland supports the work of the special rapporteur promoting the status and rights of persons with disabilities, appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The work for the ratification of the Convention is ongoing in Finland.

Thank you once again for the kind invitation to this event and best of luck with your valuable work for the rights of deaf persons in various parts of the world.

 

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Updated 2/14/2012

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