The EUD Calls the EU to Recognise the 30 EU National Sign Languages as EU Language
23 September marks not only the celebration of the International Day of Sign Languages or the organisation of the World Deaf Day by some EUD NADs but also the EU Multilingualism Day 2023!
The EU Multilingualism Day is an event promoting linguistic diversity and the learning of different languages within the European Union. The importance of multilingualism reflects the core commitment of the EU to foster linguistic diversity and intercultural understanding to celebrate the EU’s linguistic heritage.
Despite the European Union consisting of 24 spoken official languages and having its Member States legally recognise its 31 national sign languages, the EU has yet to endorse these national sign languages as part of its linguistic landscape, even though it has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and its Article 21(e).
Such recognition would ease the numerous challenges deaf people face in the European Union when exercising both their fundamental human rights and their rights to freedom of movement. One of the major challenges is the lack of information delivered in their national sign languages and the limited opportunities to communicate through their preferred languages.
By legally recognising and promoting national sign languages as EU languages, the European Union will break down communication barriers, foster inclusivity, and ensure that deaf people have equal access to information, services, and opportunities across all EU member states. Only then will the EU Disability Strategy be fully implemented, and we can achieve a Union of Equality benefitting all individuals, including deaf people.
Aligned with the International Day of Sign Languages, the 2023 edition of the Multilingualism Day 2023 provides an unprecedented opportunity for the European Union to reaffirm its commitment to foster its linguistic diversity by recognizing the 30 EU national sign languages as EU languages!
For more information on the EU recognition of National Sign Languages, please do not hesitate to reach out to the EUD Policy Manager, Mr Alexandre Bloxs, at [email protected].