International Day of Sign Languages 2021: Theme, History, and Significance

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The International Day of Sign Languages is observed every year on 23 September to raise awareness about the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf.

"The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes and promotes the use of sign languages," reads the official website of United Nations. It further states that the convention makes it clear that sign languages are equal in status to spoken languages and obligates states parties to facilitate the learning of sign language and promote the linguistic identity of the deaf community.

International Day of Sign Languages: History

World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, proposed International Day of Sign Languages. The resolution for the same was adopted by consensus on 19 December 2017.

The first International Day of Sign Languages was observed in 2018.

The date 23 September was chosen because it marks the establishment of WFD in 1951.

International Day of Sign Languages 2021: Theme

This year, the theme of International Day of Sign Languages is "We Sign for Human Rights". According to the UN, the theme highlights "how each of us – deaf and hearing people around the world – can work together hand in hand to promote the recognition of our right to use sign languages in all areas of life."

International Day of Sign Languages: Significance

According to the WFD, there are more than 70 million deaf people worldwide. International Day of Sign Languages aims at supporting and protecting the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. It also recognizes the importance of preserving sign languages as part of linguistic and cultural diversity.

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