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International Day of Sign Languages


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:

  1. International Day of Sign Languages
  2. History

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.

December 2023