Call for official recognition of sign languages

PACE has called for the official recognition of sign languages so that deaf persons can “exercise their fundamental rights”.

Adopting a resolution based on a report by Miren Edurne Gorrotxategui (Spain, UEL), the Assembly’s Standing Committee said such recognition would also “contribute to further promoting the richness of deaf culture and send a powerful message of inclusion to the deaf community”.

Sign languages are used by millions of deaf persons throughout the world every day, the Assembly pointed out. However, because so few states have recognised them as official languages “it is not possible to guarantee access to education in sign languages and the provision of sign language interpretation in public services”.

To have an impact, recognition must be accompanied by “strong political commitment and the availability of financial resources” to ensure that services and teaching in sign languages are genuinely accessible.

The Finnish rap artist “Signmark”, who was born deaf, performed songs in sign language for the parliamentarians as the report was adopted.