On the occasion of International Day of Sign Languages (23rd September), the Government of India has introduced several initiatives to improve communication and accessibility for the hearing-impaired.
GS II: Government policies and Interventions
Dimensions of the Article:
- International Day of Sign Languages
International Day of Sign Languages: Celebrating Linguistic and Cultural Diversity
- The International Day of Sign Languages is an annual event dedicated to promoting the linguistic and cultural diversity of deaf communities worldwide.
- In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly officially declared September 23rd as the day to celebrate the International Day of Sign Languages.
- This day serves as a platform to raise awareness about the significance of sign languages in the lives of deaf communities and the imperative to safeguard them as a vital aspect of human diversity.
- Sign languages are intricate visual-gestural communication systems with their own unique grammar and syntax, serving as the primary mode of communication for millions of people globally.
Theme of 2023:
The theme for 2023 is “A World Where Deaf People Can Sign Anywhere,” emphasizing the importance of ensuring accessibility to sign languages in all aspects of life.
- The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), representing 135 national federations of the deaf, proposed the concept of this day, representing approximately 70 million deaf individuals worldwide.
- A resolution, co-sponsored by 97 UN Member States and led by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, was unanimously adopted in December 2017.
- The date of September 23rd was chosen to commemorate the establishment of the WFD in 1951.
- In 2018, the International Day of Sign Languages was observed for the first time as part of the International Week of the Deaf.
Status of Deaf People:
- According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are over 70 million deaf individuals globally.
- More than 80% of them reside in underdeveloped countries, collectively utilizing more than 300 different sign languages to communicate.