The first International Day of Sign Languages was observed across the world on September 23, 2018 with the theme “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!” The UN General Assembly decided to commemorate the day as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf.
The UN resolution establishing the day acknowledged that early access to sign language and services in sign language, including quality education available in sign language, is vital to the growth and development of deaf individuals and critical to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.
The proposal for the International Day of Sign Languages came from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing approximately 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide.
The day – September 23rd- was chosen as it commemorates the date when the WFD was established in 1951. One of the main goals of the WFD is to preserve sign languages and deaf culture.
The first International Day of Sign Languages was celebrated on September 23, 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf, which will take place on 24-30 September.
The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958 and has since evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to raise awareness of the issues deaf people face in their everyday lives.