Side-Event during the 14th COSP


For the 2nd time, the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the Nippon Foundation (TNF) will host a Side Event during the 14th session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the United Nations.

Thursday, June 17 2021
🇺🇸   8:30am (NYC time)
🇫🇮   3:30pm (Helsinki time)
🇯🇵   9:30pm (Tokyo time)

Importance of ensuring Sign Language Rights in national legal frameworks and policies

Only 63 countries have adopted legal measures to recognise deaf people’s linguistic and cultural rights.  This concerning number represents how far the human rights of deaf people to access life-saving information, education, and participation in every area of their society in their national sign languages are neglected. Meaningful legal recognition of national sign languages leads to better achievement of human rights and the fulfilment of the 2030 agenda.

This side event is directed to State parties’ representatives. It aims to highlight the importance of adopting meaningful legal recognition of national sign languages to gradually end the discrimination and marginalisation faced by deaf people regarding using their preferred language and progressively reaching an equal society.

In this context, the WFD is designing a toolkit entitled “Guidelines for Achieving Sign Language Rights”. This toolkit is being developed for the National Associations of the Deaf to increase the understanding of the importance of advocating for meaningful legal recognition of their national sign language(s). Additionally, the toolkit will guide the way to develop new strategies strengthening policies that are being implemented after the recognition is made effective.

The WFD and TNF would like to seize the momentum of the COSP 14 to host a side event to raise further awareness on sign languages and how its legal recognition can ensure the realisation of the human rights of all deaf people.

In this event, the panellists will discuss the following topics:

  • What we mean when talking about Sign Language Rights.
  • The Importance of achieving official recognition of National Sign Languages.
  • The WFD Toolkit on Sign Languages’ Rights.
  • How can organised civil society representatives advocate for their sign languages’ rights?
  • What comprises exemplary and model legislation that recognises sign language?
  • What can be done to strengthen existing policies and laws regarding sign language as an official language?

The panel will be composed

Dr. Joseph Murray
President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)
Ms. Carolyn B. Dagani
President of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf
Mr. Nickson Kakiri
Politician and President of the Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD)
Mr. Jaime Naranjo
Congressman from Chile
Mr. Ichiro Kabasawa
Executive Director of the Nippon Foundation

The flyer

This is also an opportunity to invite your government leaders to attend the event. WFD encourages you to send them this flyer.



International Sign
Spoken English
English Captions