WFD Position Paper on the Language Rights of Deaf Children

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation which promotes the human rights of deaf people worldwide. An important part of our work is the promotion of the rights of deaf people, including deaf-blind people and deaf people with disabilities, to an education in their native indigenous sign language(s). The need for natural language acquisition in sign language is crucial for all deaf people.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) commits governments to recognising the importance of sign languages and promoting their use. The UN CRPD also entitles deaf people, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture. Being allowed to develop their cultural and linguistic identities – including in educational settings – is a key right of deaf children.

The full document can be found under Resources.