The World Federation of the Deaf had a visible and active presence at the 12th United Nations Forum on Minority Issues. WFD Board Member Victoria Manning was the first deaf person to be on an official panel at the Forum. Among the recommendations, the WFD made was that governments should immediately recognize national sign languages and enact legislation to ensure deaf learners had access to sign language environments.
WFD President Joseph J. Murray participated in a Side Event with Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) and the Permanent Mission of Austria, highlighting the linguistic needs of deaf people in humanitarian situations. The WFD thanks MRGI for its support for the WFD’s participation in the Forum and Side Event.
The WFD also did a statement from the floor, further highlighting the need to recognize the intersectional identities of deaf people, including deaf women and girls, in the recognition of deaf people as members of a linguistic minority found in every cultural and ethnic group around the world.
The Minorities Forum closed with a statement by UN Special Rapporteur Fernand DeVarennes in which he again reinforced the point that deaf communities were linguistic minority communities. The UN Special Rapporteur then led the Forum in a round of ‘deaf applause’
The WFD’s presence at this Forum allows us to further advance an intersectional understanding of deaf communities as an assemblage of diverse peoples and as linguistic minorities found in every country in the world.
The WFD is committed to working for you!