Islamabad (Web Desk/Agencies): The International Day of Sign Languages was observed on Friday across the world including Pakistan to raise awareness about the importance of sign language.
This year, the theme for the day is "sign languages unite us".
The day is observed to protect the linguistic identity of people who are deaf and others who use sign language.
The International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) is observed annually across the world on September 23.
The day is a unique opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed September 23 as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf.
The resolution establishing the day acknowledges 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 the deaf individual and critical to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.
It recognizes the importance of preserving sign languages as part of linguistic and cultural diversity. It also emphasizes the principle of “nothing about us without us” in terms of working with deaf communities.
Deaf communities, governments and civil society organisations maintain their collective efforts - hand in hand - in fostering, promoting and recognising national sign languages as part of their countries’ vibrant and diverse linguistic landscapes.
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are more than 70 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.
Sign languages are fully fledged natural languages, structurally distinct from the spoken languages.
There is also an international sign language, which is used by deaf people in international meetings and informally when travelling and socializing. It is considered a pidgin form of sign language that is not as complex as natural sign languages and has a limited lexicon.
As per the United Nations (UN), the International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.
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.