UNAD demands that International Day of Sign Language is recognized as national holiday in Uganda
Government has been tasked to recognize the International Day of Sign Language celebrated on September 23rd annually, as a national holiday in the spirit of promoting Uganda Sign Language.
The call was made by Mr. Mbulamwana Joseph the Executive Director Uganda National Association of the Deaf, UNAD.
Mr. Mbulamwana also wants government to recruit sign language interpreters in referral hospitals, courts of law and all local governments/districts for efficient service delivery and inclusion.
In line with commemoration of the day tomorrow, the ED says there is urgent need to have sign language taught as a subject from primary one to secondary.
Currently, Uganda has a few primary schools set out special for deaf children and two secondary schools in Wakiso and Mbale for the same. However, the deaf community wants sign language introduced in all schools to enable easy communication.
The National Association of the Deaf, UNAD has demanded inclusion in all poverty reduction programmes by government as well as the planning, implementation and monitoring of development ventures such as Vision 2040, SDGs, National Development Plan 2 and government and institutional budgets.
The International Day for Sign Language is celebrated annually by the global Deaf Community during the last week of September, to commemorate the same month the first World Congress of the WFD was held.
In Uganda, the day will be celebrated tomorrow in Masaka, under them: “Sign language Rights for all.” Chosen to reaffirm Deaf People’s Human Rights.
Mr. Mbulamwana who is also deaf says they want the national effort to promote the use of sign language in all spheres including provision of social services, public engagements as a means of bridging the communication gap between the deaf and the wider populace.
“It’s shameful to see that Uganda first country in the world to constitutionally recognize sign language is still lagging behind in its development and promotion. Imagine even the plenary debates in parliament are not interpreted to the deaf community although aired on TV. Kenya that approved sign language a few years ago has ensured that parliament debates are interpreted in KSL” Mbulamwana noted.
He added that without reaffirmation of sign language rights for all, sign language is excluded from the budgets and plans and the same applies to provision of sign language interpreters in service delivery. “This in summary means Deaf people are excluded and their human rights violated. There cannot be human rights promotion to deaf persons without sign language.
In 2020, the World Federation of the Deaf is issuing a Global Leaders Challenge. This challenge aims to promote the use of sign languages by local, national, and global leaders in partnership with national associations of deaf people in each country, as well as other deaf-led organisations. Local leaders have been challenged to sign the International theme, record videos and share them. The videos will be posted on social media in honor of the day.