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    International Day of Sign Languages: History, significance and theme

    International Day of Sign Languages: History, significance and theme

    International Day of Sign Languages: History, significance and theme
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    The date September 23 was chosen to celebrate the International Day of Sign Languages as it commemorates the day on which the World Federation of the Deaf was established in Rome (September 23, 1951)

    The International Day of Sign Languages is observed every year on September 23 to raise awareness about the importance of sign language and protect the linguistic identity of people who are deaf and others who use sign language. This year, the theme for International Day of Sign Languages is ‘Sign Languages Unite Us’.
    According to the United Nations (UN), sign language is a full-fledged natural language even though it is structurally distinct from spoken languages. Sign languages use visual-manual modality to convey the message. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international human rights treaty of the UN, recognises the use of sign languages and gives it equal status to spoken languages. The convention also asks countries to facilitate the learning of sign languages.
    History of International Day of Sign Languages
    The day was established after the United Nations General Assembly declared September 23 as the International Day of Sign Languages in 2017. The following year, the International Day of Sign Languages was celebrated as part of the International Week of the Deaf.
    The date September 23 was chosen to commemorate the day on which the World Federation of the Deaf was established in Rome (September 23, 1951).
    Significance
    Observing the International Day of Sign Languages every year is important as it aims to raise awareness about this medium of communication.
    There are more than 70 million deaf people across the world, as per the World Federation of the Deaf. Among them, over 80 percent reside in developing countries. These people collectively use more than 300 different sign languages.
    The resolution passed by the UN to establish this day acknowledges the need to provide early access to sign language and quality education in sign language for the growth and development of the deaf individual.
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