A call for the official recognition of sign languages

“Sign languages are used by millions of deaf people throughout the world every day. They are natural languages of deaf communities which also contribute to creating communication bridges between deaf and hearing people,” said Miren Edurne Gorrotxategui (Spain, UEL), who is currently preparing a report for PACE on the topic, speaking on the eve of the International Day of Sign Languages (23 September) and ahead of the European Day of Languages (26 September).

“However, sign languages still lack official recognition in many States. They are neither widely taught nor is interpretation systematically available in public events or places. Furthermore, hearing people do not often reach out to deaf people and deaf culture,” she added.

“On this first celebration of the International Day of Sign Languages, I wish to call for the official recognition of sign languages at the national level, which will help their promotion and protection, and for financial investment to this end. Official recognition of sign languages can facilitate access to public life, education and employment for deaf people and be a step towards more inclusive societies.”

Ms Gorrotxategui’s report is due to be discussed by the Assembly’s Standing Committee in November.