International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL)

International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL)

Basic Information about IDSL

International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) is an annual event observed on September 23 to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf.


Observed on: September 23

Organized by: UN, WFD

Introduced in: 2017 (UN Proclamation), 2018 (First Observation)

Observed: Worldwide


About International Day of Sign Languages

Sign languages are fully fledged natural languages used by deaf people for communication. According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. Also, there were 300 different sign languages are used by these people. To promote the linguistic identity of the deaf community, it is important to facilitate the learning of sign language.

By considering the importance of sign languages and to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf, UN General Assembly (on 19 December 2017) has proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages. The day was first observed on 23 September 2018. Sign languages plays a vital role in growth and development of the deaf individual. The date 23 September commemorates the date that the World Federation of Deaf (WFD) was established in 1951. The IDSL is also observed as a part of International Week for Deaf (IWDeaf) which is observed on the last full week of September. IWDeaf was observed annually and was first observed in 1958.


Actions and Programs on IDSL

Many programs and activities are organized in connection with IDSL. IDSL or IWDeaf are observed with many objectives. The observation emphasizes the importance of sign languages as a prerequisite to the full realization of human rights for deaf people.

Many campaigns including social media campaigns are conducted in association with IDSL and IWDeaf. Some common hashtags used for the campaign are #IWDeaf #IDSL #SignLanguagesDay.


Theme for International Day of Sign Languages

International Day of Sign Languages 2019 Theme is ‘Sign Language Rights for All!

International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) 2018 Theme was ‘With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!


Click here for List of Important Days or UN Observations

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