Text transcript of BSL video:
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 23 September as International Day of Sign Languages.
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), for which the BDA is the UK’s representative, worked with the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations to bring the proposal forward.
The resolution (A/C.3/72/L.36/Rev.1 – International Sign version here) was initially adopted by consensus during the meeting of the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, 16 November 2017 and officially adopted today at the 72ND UN General Assembly.
The choice of 23 September commemorates the date on which the WFD was established in 1951. The first International Day of Sign Languages will be celebrated on 23 September 2018 as part of the International Week for the Deaf, a global initiative pioneered by the WFD.
The International Day of Sign Languages will raise awareness of signed languages and enhance the quality of life for Deaf communities, including those the UK. It will be an opportunity for governments, organisations and communities across the world to get together and reflect on the history, culture, and modern-day challenges facing signed languages.
Dr Terry Riley OBE, chair of the British Deaf Association, stated:
“I welcome this fantastic initiative by the WFD and the UN. Through The International Day of Sign Languages, and landmark conventions such as the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, the UN is working with Deaf people to create a better world for Deaf people, in which Deaf rights are acknowledged and respected by all. Without sign language rights, I have no human rights”.
World Federation of the Deaf President Colin Allen:
'This resolution recognises the importance of sign language and services in sign language being available to deaf people as early in life as possible. It also emphasises the principle of “nothing about us without us” in terms of working with Deaf Communities…the WFD is overjoyed at the prospect of observing and celebrating this day annually."
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