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International Day of Sign Languages 2020: Sign Languages Are for Everyone!

September 23, 2020

The International Day of Sign Languages is observed on September 23 every year to raise awareness of the significance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf. According to the United Nations, the day also acknowledges early access to sign language and various services in sign language like quality education which is vital to the development and growth of the deaf individual.

The theme for this year is “Sign Languages Are for Everyone!”

The celebration of this day is vital to the growth and development of deaf individuals and critical to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals. The day offers an opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all sign language users.

There are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80 percent of them live in developing countries and collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.

The first ever International Day of Sign Language was observed across the world on September 23, 2018, with the theme “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!” The day is observed as part of the International Week of the Deaf, which takes place from 24-30 September.

The World Federation of the Deaf first made the proposal for this day on December 19, 2017 as September 23 also marks the day the World Federation of the Deaf was first established (in 1951). This day is particularly significant as it presents the opportunity to ‘support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users.’ 

Read: Dr. Alim Chandani: Champion of the deaf

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