International Day of Sign Languages observed on 23rd Sep – Celebrated with New Theme Every year.
The International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated annually across the world on 23 September. The day is a unique opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. Sign language gives people, who are hard of hearing, a medium to converse. As the name suggests, this day aims to spread awareness regarding the importance of sign language in the realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf.
Every year on 23 September International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated to celebrate the contribution and importance of sign language used by deaf people around the world, as well as in the lives of other sign languages of the world. Different gestures of hands and fingers are used by people with speech and hearing disabilities to express themselves, this is called sign language.
International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated every year around the world with a new theme. The theme of the year 2022 is – ‘Sign Languages Unite us‘. The theme of the year 2021 was ‘We Sign for Human Rights’, while the theme of the year 2020 was ‘Sign Languages for Everyone’.
Deaf communities, governments and civil society organisations maintain their collective efforts in fostering, promoting and recognising national sign languages as part of their countries’ vibrant and diverse linguistic landscapes.
Sign languages are visual languages that pass your message through the use of gestures or symbols. Each country has its own sign language, for eg- in the US, it is American Sign Language whereas in the UK it is British sign language. The International Day of Sign Language throws light on the importance of preserving this medium of communication for deaf people. The day also gives a stage for the development of sign language. It also focuses on the internationally agreed development goals and the achievements associated with them.
History of International Day of Sign Languages
The proposal for the Day came from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing approximately 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide.
The proposal to observe the International Day of Sign Languages was brought by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and passed in the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2017.The choice of 23 September commemorates the date that the WFD was established in 1951. This day marks the birth of an advocacy organisation, which has as one of its main goals, the preservation of sign languages and deaf culture as pre-requisites to the realisation of the human rights of deaf people.
The International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958 and has since evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to raise awareness of the issues deaf people face in their everyday lives.