International Week of the Deaf 2012

“Sign Bilingualism is a human right”

It is again that time of the year when deaf people around the world gather together to celebrate the International Week of the Deaf.

This year the International Week of the Deaf is celebrated from 24 to 30 September. Deaf Associations throughout the world organise events, marches, campaigns and meetings to highlight current topics that they wish to be addressed by local or national authorities. Their aim is to attract the attention of decision makers, general public, and media to the problems and concerns deaf persons face and make them understand that deaf people have human rights too! So the International Week of the Deaf is all about getting together, feeling united and powerful and showing that unity to the rest of the world. This week also increases solidarity among deaf people and their supporters and is used as a way to stimulate greater efforts to promote the rights of deaf people.

For the past couple of years the World Federation of the Deaf has introduced a theme to the deaf community for its celebration. So far we have covered:

In 2009 we celebrated deaf people’s cultural achievements

In 2010 the focus was directed to deaf education and

In 2011 we looked at accessibility to information and communications

For 2012 we would like to propose the theme of “Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right!”

We urge our national members to choose one, two or more issues that are related to this theme and make a campaign around it. For instance you could include in your campaign issues related to language recognition, education systems, attitudes towards a sign bilingual society or awareness raising within the Deaf community about their rights as bilingual citizens.

WFD wishes all of you a cheerful International Week of the Deaf!