International Day of Sign Languages: 23 September

International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated annually across the world on 23 September every year along with International Week of the Deaf. This day aims to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf. This year it was first International Day of Sign Languages. Its theme was “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!”.

Background

International Day of Sign Languages was proposed by World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing around 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide. Later, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) instituted this day by adopting resolution A/RES/72/161 in December 2017. The choice of 23 September commemorates date of establishment of WFD in 1951. International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958. According to WFD, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.

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