I sign for Human Rights!

The theme for the 7th day of International Week of the Deaf is “I sign for Human Rights!” and highlights the importance of Sign Language being a Human Right for Deaf persons.

Human rights are a set of interlinked and inalienable rights inherent to every human being. Their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, disability, religion, culture or language maybe different but they all have human rights. All human beings have the right to use their human rights without discrimination.

Human rights are right to life, right to equality without discrimination, right to education, right to freedom, etc. 

Sign languages are languages Deaf people can use effortlessly. Sign language is the only way for the deaf people to participate and be fully included in their communities. The right to sign language and to belong to a Deaf Community is a Deaf person’s cultural human right.

All the human rights are interlinked. It cannot be said that some rights will be given and some rights will not be given. Example: Right to be educated in their mother tongue. If Deaf people are given access to Sign Language and educated in sign language, then they can also follow their right to work and get better jobs, earn money, participate in society etc. But if the right of education in sign language is not given to deaf people, then automatically they will be deprived of other rights such as right to work, participation in society, equality, etc. Equality and non-discrimination are fundamental principles in deaf people’s access to society.

Providing qualified and accredited sign language interpretation is the only way to for deaf people to get equality and non-discrimination in their right to access.

If the right of deaf people to use their national sign language is recognized then they can fulfill their interlinked human rights. This can be achieved through the promotion of national sign languages in the society.