The Report’s Recommendations
The Human Rights Commission Sign Language Inquiry Report states that education facilities need more resources in order to teach NZSL and train the community and health care staff in subjects of awareness and deaf culture.
Another recommendation was the creation of an advisory group of experts who would be in charge of promoting the use of NZSL, as well as guarding its value and position as one of the country’s official languages. These measures are all aimed at fomenting the inclusion of the deaf community in everyday life and facilitating their way into the educational system, which tends to be out of reach for many individuals of the deaf community due to the lack of interpreters and resources of the education system.
New Zealand Sign Language: Background
New Zealand Sign Language became an official language of the country in 2006. In 2008, New Zealand ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. NZSL became, then, a right related to the right of communication and expression, stated Paul Gibson, Disability Rights Commissioner.
The Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, which had catastrophic consequences for the city and its population, brought about the use of NZSL in television, so that the deaf community could have access to basic information, support and resources during the disaster. However, Gibson highlights that it was a struggle to get the interpreters on TV, and he added that, next time, the community should not have to fight for it.