FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
23 SEPTEMBER 2022, CAPE TOWN
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SIGN LANGUAGES, 23 SEPTEMBER 2022
Today, 23 September 2022, marks International Day of Sign as declared by the UN General Assembly in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are Deaf. This day provides an opportunity for government and civil society to support and, protect the linguistic identity a well cultural diversity of the Deaf community.
According to the Word Federation of the Deaf, there are more than 70 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80 percent of them live in developing countries and uses more than 300 different sign languages.
This year’s observation of the International Day of Sign Languages comes at the right time as the country has recently tabled the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill on the South African Sign Language to be recognized as the 12TH official language of the country.
“We are encouraged that the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill was published for public comment, the journey to making South African Sign Language official in the country is a product of many years put in by various stakeholders tirelessly advocating for the recognition of the linguistic human rights of the Deaf community” said the PanSALB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lance Schultz.
“On this day, we wish to appeal to government, the private sector and civil society to adopt the South African Sign Language Charter launched by PanSALB in September 2019 to advance the development of South African Sign Language. The charter provides key pledges that can be adopted to address and improve access to quality information and services by the Deaf community. This will be particularly critical for the implementation of the imminent declaration of South African Sign Language as an official language in the country. For us to avoid marginalisation and exclusion of the Deaf community, we need to have an understanding of Deaf culture, have the proficiency in SASL and avail services of professional SASL interpreters” he concluded.