International Day of Sign Language - 23rd September
The twenty-third day of September marks International Day
of Sign language, an annual observance that aims to raise
awareness on the importance of sign language in ensuring
the full realization of the human rights of individuals who
Thus, this UN designated day presents an opportunity to
support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural
diversity of all Deaf and other sign language users.
Moreover, the World Federation of the Deaf recently
issued the Global Leaders Challenge in 2020, with the
aim of promoting the use of sign languages by local,
national and global leaders, in partnership with the
National Associations of the Deaf in each country, as
well as other deaf-led organizations.
Global solidarity is necessary in recognizing the role of
the deaf community and supporting their active participation in various aspects of human development. The urgency in ensuring the protection of the rights of the deaf community is more evident now more than ever with the emergence of the Corona-virus Pandemic that has disrupted the livelihood and safety of the global community. According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are more than 72 million deaf people in the world with more than 80% living in developing countries.
This year's theme is “Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights.” In respect of this year's theme, it is necessary for stakeholders, organisations, public and private institutions to cooperate and stand by the deaf community and ensure their inclusion in the social, economic and political aspect of life.
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights appeals to all states to work actively towards ensuring the respect of the human rights of the deaf and ensure that no one is excluded from society due to hearing or speaking challenges. The Institute urges governments to encourage the learning of sign language, bridging the gap of communication that may exist and ensuring social justice through the normalization of sign language education, directly benefiting marginalized groups.
Furthermore, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights calls on all countries, especially the countries of the Middle East and North Africa to create an encouraging and supportive environment for those living with hearing impairments by incorporating innovative measures such as providing comprehensive information and support to those with disabilities and their families.
Moreover, the Institute stresses the importance of the respect of the General Assembly Resolution (that established International Sign Language), that calls for the need of early access to sign language services, including quality education in sign language.
It is necessary to ensure the prevalence of equality in society. As stated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities : “sign language is INSEPARABLE from deaf people’s human rights. Without sign language, deaf people are NOT equal.”