Introduction

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation representing approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of these 70 million live in developing countries, where authorities are rarely familiar with their needs or desires.

Recognised by the United Nations (UN) as their spokes-organisation, WFD works closely with the UN and its various agencies in promoting the human rights of Deaf people in accordance with the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other general acts and recommendations of the UN and its specialised agencies.

When necessary, WFD uses special, legal or administrative measures to ensure that Deaf people in every country have the right to preserve their own sign languages, organisations, and cultural and other activities. Most important among WFD priorities are Deaf people in developing countries; the right to sign language; and equal opportunity in all spheres of life, including access to education and information.