International Day of Sign Language is observed on September 23, every year. This day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of sign language as a means of communication and the full realization of the human rights of the people who are deaf, as per the UN General Assembly.Also Read - India Administers Over 47 Crore Vaccine Doses so Far, Achieves July Vaccination Target
This day was first celebrated in 2018 and September 23 was chosen as a specific date because the World Federation of the Deaf, established in 1951 is also celebrated on the same day. Also Read - China Sounds COVID-19 Alarm as Delta Variant Spreads to 18 Provinces With Fresh Cases in Beijing
There are approximately 72 million deaf people in the world, according to the World Federation of the Deaf. And around 80 percent of deaf people live in developing countries and there are over 300 different sign languages. Also Read - Shane Warne in Self-Isolation After Testing Positive For COVID-19: Report
“Sign languages are fully-fledged natural languages, structurally distinct from the spoken languages. There is also an international sign language, which is used by deaf people in international meetings and informally when travelling and socializing. It is considered a pidgin form of sign language that is not as complex as natural sign languages and has a limited lexicon, “according to the UN.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities encourages and understands the importance of sign language. Sign language has been accorded equal in status to spoken languages. Early access to sign language, like quality education available in sign language is essential to the growth and development of deaf individuals. This day is particularly significant as it presents the opportunity to ‘support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf community and other sign language users.’
The UN’s aim behind this day was to emphasize the importance of good education in sign language, as it helps in the growth and development of deaf people.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme for 2020 International Day of Sign languages is “Sign Languages Are for Everyone!”