AVLIC Statement about the Sign Language Interpretation at Peru Congress

AVLIC advocates for the exclusive use of qualified sign language professionals, and endorses the joint WASLI-WFD press release below. Recent events in Peru, despite world wide attention spotlighted on the "Fake Interpreter" at Nelson Mandela's funeral, only serve to highlight the continued need to advocate for the Deaf community's right to a qualified, trained, professional interpreter.

WFD-WASLI Joint Statement about the Sign Language Interpretation at Peru Congress

International Sign 

The Peruvian Congress recently hired a signed language interpreter, which was televised throughout the country. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) are very concerned about the quality of sign language interpretation during that event.

The congressional information was followed on television by several deaf Peruvians, who were disappointed with the level of interpretation of this high level event which described that this mystery interpreter did not know Peruvian Sign Language "The structure of her hand, facial expressions and the body movement did not follow what the speaker was saying." The WFD and WASLI have received numerous concerns from deaf people from Peru and other countries, expressing their concern about how this could have happened, especially in light of the worldwide attention brought by the hiring of a "fake interpreter" for Nelson Mandela's funeral.

The President of the Peruvian Association of Sign Language Interpreters, Ms Isabel Rey, expressed her shock at such an appalling lack of respect for the Deaf Community in hiring someone without any knowledge of the Peruvian Sign Language.

The WFD and WASLI would like to announce a public statement about the importance of quality interpreter services in any public event. It is the responsibility of organisers to ensure that access to information is guaranteed for deaf audience. Article 21 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) points out that deaf people have a right to choose their form of communication and State Parties shall ensure “accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages.. and all other accessible means of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions”. The same article continues that State Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages. Further the Article 9 of UNCRPD requires "State Parties to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access on an equal basis with others.. to information and communications..." This means professional sign language interpreters, who know the national sign language and deaf culture.

The WFD and WASLI want to underline the need to co-operate with local deaf organisations, in this case in Peru; stress the need for trained, qualified interpreters to be provided, and the emphasis on the need for access that is based on direction from deaf people.