September 23: International Day of Sign Languages

Published: September 23, 2020

Every year, September 23 is marked as the International Day of Sign Languages by the United Nations. The day is being celebrated since 2018. This year, the International Day of Sign Languages is being celebrated under the following theme

Theme: Sign Languages are for Everyone

Why September 23?

September 23 has been chosen to celebrate International Day of Sign Languages as the World Federation of the Deaf was formed on this day. It was the World Federation of the Deaf that brought in the concept of celebrating International Day of Sign Languages.

The first International Day of Sign Languages was celebrated along with the International Week of the Deaf in 2018. The week was first celebrated by World Federation of the Deaf in 1958.

According to the World Federation of Deaf, there are more than 72 million deaf people all over the world. More than 80% of the deaf people live in developing countries and use more than 300 sign languages.

Sustainable Development Goals

The prevalence of disability in the world is closely related to Goal 10 of UN SDG. Goal 10 strives to reduce inequality among countries by empowering and promoting social, economic and political inclusion of all. This includes persons with disabilities as well.

Also, Goal 11 of the UN SDG works towards making human settlements and cities inclusive, safe and sustainable.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

It recognises and promotes the use of sign languages at par with spoken languages. It facilitates learning of sign languages.

It was adopted in 2006. So far, the convention has received 177 ratifications. It aims to end the discrimination against disabled persons. India ratified the convention in 2007 and enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 to fulfil obligations under United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Also, GoI launched Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan to make government buildings more accessible to disabled people.

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