International Day of Sign Languages 2020: Current Theme, History and Significance
International Day of Sign Languages 2020: It is observed every year on 23 September along with the celebration of International Week of the Deaf. The day spread awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf. And also about the issues of deaf people that they face in their everyday lives.
The World Federation of the Deaf for 2020 has issued a 'Global Leaders Challenge'. It aims to promote the use of sign language by locals, national and global leaders who are in partnerships with the national association of deaf people in each country and other deaf organisations.
International Day of Sign Languages 2020: Theme
The theme of the International Day of Sign Languages 2020 is "Sign Languages are for everyone".
What are sign languages?
Sign languages are fully-fledged natural languages and are structurally different from spoken languages. In international meetings and informally when travelling and socialising international sign languages are used by deaf people. It is considered a pidgin form of sign language that is not as complex as natural sign languages and has a limited lexicon.
Sign language is a form of visual language that uses hand gestures and body language to convey. There are several examples of people who use visual gestures to express themselves long v=before a formal sign language have been established.
Also, sign languages are promoted and recognised by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy, launched last year, aims to strengthen our efforts to ensure the meaningful participation and full inclusion of people with disabilities in all that we do, including in times of crisis. That is the only way to fulfill the central promise of the 2030 Agenda – to leave no one behind."
International Day of Sign Languages: History
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) has proposed the Day. The federation has 135 national associations of deaf people that represent approximately 70 million deaf people's human rights worldwide. Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations-sponsored resolution A/RES/72/161 and co-sponsored by 97 United Nations Member States. It was adopted by consensus on 19 December, 2017.
Why is 23rd September chosen as International Day of Sign Languages?
23rd September is chosen as the International Day of Sign Languages because on this date World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was established in 1951. The day marks the birth of an advocacy organisation. Its one of the main goals is to preserve sign languages and deaf culture as pre-requisites to the realisation of the human rights of deaf people.
In 2018, the International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated as part of the International Week of the Deaf. And the International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958. Since then it evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to spread awareness about the issues of deaf people that they face in their everyday lives.
As per the World Federation of the Deaf:
- Approximately 72 million deaf people are there worldwide.
- More than 80% of them are living in developing countries.
- Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.