September 23: International Day of Sign Languages – Update (September, 2022)

The International Day of Sign Language is observed on September 23 every year.

Key facts

  • The International Day of Sign Language is observed to promote the global awareness about the importance of sign language and make information and communication more accessible to people relying on sign language.
  • The day commemorates the founding of the World Federation of Deaf in the year in 1951.
  • The theme for this year is “Sign Languages Unite us”.
  • This theme recognizes sign languages as an essential human right of deaf people.
  • It aims to promote different national sign languages across the globe by bringing together deaf communities, governments, civil societies and others.


International Day of Sign Language was observed for the first time in 2018 as part of the International Week of Deaf. The inaugural edition of the International Week of the Deaf was observed in the year 1958. This event has become a global movement for deaf unity and concerted problems related to raising awareness about the regular challenges faced by deaf people.


The International Day of Sign Languages raises awareness about the sign languages that are recognized as human rights of deaf people. It promotes linguistic identity and cultural diversity of people using sign language. Around 72 million people are deaf in this world and more than 80 per cent of them live in developing countries and use more than 300 different sign languages. Many of these sign languages are not recognized by the governments. For instance, Indian Sign Language is not recognized as an official language in India. This day aims to promote these languages at the official level and make them popular among wider communities.

About World Federation of Deaf

The Finland-based World Federation of Deaf is an international NGO that promotes human rights of deaf people across the globe and promote the use of sign language. It is currently a member of the International Disability Alliance.




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