WFD News – August 21

Human Rights abuses in Haiti


Information of July 2, 2021

The World Federation of the Deaf has received reports that in the last five years, several young deaf women in Haiti have been gang-raped, brutally tortured, their organs extracted and murdered. The WFD is standing up to break the silence and indifference around the systematic human rights violation against deaf people, particularly deaf women and girls in Haiti.

The WFD, in partnership with the NGO OFF-THE-GRID Missions, stands with the deaf community in Haiti and is supporting the petition in favour of a call for immediate and specific actions to the United Nations agencies. The WFD will send communications to these instances to follow up on the actions required.

Read the WFD press release:
The petition can be found here:


Information of August 20, 2021

The WFD Secretariat has done its research to have an accurate and appropriate response to this situation. After defining our points of advocacy, we submitted them to the United Nations Human Rights Section for processing. The UN is now in the process of analyzing the points and suggestions we have made. In tandem, we have also organized an open dialogue with the deaf people of Haiti, encouraging them to share their thoughts, concerns and point of view on how we can lift up deaf people in Haiti to have an equal standing with others. In short we have reacted to this news by implementing two major strategies, working with the UN and directly communicating with the Haitian deaf community. The WFD is here for the rights of deaf people in Haiti and around the world.

WFD 70th Anniversary Webinar Series!


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the only international legal text explicitly recognising the rights to sign language. With eight references to sign language distributed in five articles, the CRPD is the leading instrument ensuring the human rights of deaf people. Art. 21(e) explicitly recognise the obligation of States Parties to legally recognise their national sign languages. However, among the 182 States Parties that ratified the CRPD, only 62 have officially recognised their national sign languages through a legal instrument. 66% of the States Parties to the CRPD are yet to fulfill their obligations. 

To tackle this challenge, the World Federation of the Deaf has undertaken a global campaign to foster the legal recognition of national sign languages as momentum to achieve the human rights of all deaf people. Part of this initiative, the WFD is currently designing a sign language rights toolkit aiming to guide the national federations of the deaf and other policy makers in undertaking legal recognition of the national sign languages. 

The webinar will make a presentation of the importance of undertaking legal recognition of the national sign languages from a human rights perspective. It will highlight the existing types of legal recognition of sign language - from the constitutional recognition to the recognition by a sign language law - before serving as a momentum to present the toolkit on sign language rights.

Watch the video

This month's highlights


World Pride Copenhagen 2021

WFD President Joseph Murray was invited by World Pride Copenhagen 2021 and Tegnbuen, the Danish Deaf LGBTQIA+ organization, to attend and present at World Pride Human Rights Conference and at a virtual Deaf LGTBQIA+ track at the conference.

President Murray reinforced the WFD's commitment to deaf LGBTQIA+ communities and reminded governments and LGBTQIA+ NGOS and organizations of their obligation to be truly inclusive of all in all program and activities within LGBTQIA+ communities, including signing deaf people, to live up to the event's hashtag #YouAreIncluded.


Meeting with the World Enabled International

As part of the WFD's expanding approach to intersectional human rights work, the WFD is working with Women Enabled International (WEI), an international human rights organization for women with disabilities, on joint training and awareness raising work.  The WFD President and Human Rights Team met with WEI staff for a training on deaf people's human rights issues.

This collaboration will continue with a training by WEI for WFD Board and staff in October 2021.