International Day of Sign Languages 2020: Sign language is a way of communication using hand gestures, which are visually read by people unable to hear or speak. Sign languages are unique and independent of spoken languages. International Day of Sign Languages is observed every year on September 23, to celebrate diversity of people and make sure no one is left behind because of hearing or speaking challenges. The International Day of Sign Languages is a United Nations-designated day. According to 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".
International Day of Sign Languages: When did it start
The International Day of Sign Languages was first observed in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf. It also commemorates the day the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was established in 1951. The WFD works towards ensuring the human rights of deaf people worldwide. According to the WFD, there are around 72 million people worldwide who use sign language.
72 million people around the are deaf.— United Nations (@UN) September 23, 2020
Wednesday's International Day of Sign Languages aims to help promote, protect & preserve the 300+ different sign languages in existence.https://t.co/fjE7w4m83opic.twitter.com/gevXIhb3cj
International Day of Sign Languages: Know rights of sign language users
- "Sign languages are equal in status to spoken languages"
- "Allows deaf people to choose to give and receive official communications in the way they choose, including in sign languages"
- "Obligates the governments to encourage the learning of sign language and promote the linguistic identity of the Deaf Community"
- "Requires the governments to provide early and comprehensive information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families, including information about deaf culture, sign language and bilingual education."
This year the WFD is issuing a Global Leaders Challenge, which aims to "promote the use of sign languages by local, national, and global leaders in partnership with national associations of deaf people in each country, as well as other deaf-led organisations".
“Yay! Why am I so happy? Because today the world is celebrating Sign Language Day. Not only in America but all over the world, all different signed languages. Finally! I love you!” #InternationalSignLanguageDay#SignLanguageDay#signlanguageforallpic.twitter.com/p1wggHh8Io— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) September 23, 2018
International Day of Sign Languages: 5 facts
- There are hundreds of sign languages in the world today
- Some countries have multiple sign languages
- American Sign Language is different from the British Sign Language
- Populations with a high number of deaf people have sign languages that are used by both hearing and deaf people
- There is also an international sign language used while travelling and in official meetings. It is considered a pidgin form of sign language
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 23, when the nationwide lockdown was announced, had shared a video on "valuable information on social media on COVID-19" in sign language.