By William Madouk
Civil society activist in South Sudan calls on the government to consider mandatory sign language to enhance communication with people with hearing and speech impairments.
Mr. Edmund Yakani, the executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), said it’s time for the public and private sectors to have sign language interpreters across the country.
“It is time for us to get committed to accepting the use of sign language in public and private sector institutions as a demonstration of our obligation to promote and protect the rights of persons using sign language,” said Yakani.
“Among the key public institutions that are required to ensure immediate use of sign language are the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC TV), state courts of law and police stations, public and private hospitals and clinics, drug stores, and universities,” he lamented.
He made this plea during the commemoration of the International Day for Sign Language on September 23, 2023.
According to him, a lack of sign language has contributed to limitations for the deaf population in getting opportunities for effective interaction with others.
Besides, the activist lauded the Ministry of General Education and Instructions for ensuring sign language is used in schools and effectively included for students during basic and secondary school examinations.
CEPO Disability Inclusion Advocacy also argues for the limited use of sign language, which may constitute discrimination against people with hearing impairments.
“No use of sign language is direct discrimination against users of sign language, and this is a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which South Sudan is a party, dated February 24, 2023. Mr. Yakani stressed.
CEPO revealed that it will soon open the Sign Language Centre (SLC) as a private platform aimed at promoting the use of sign language and providing opportunities for individuals who would like to learn the use of sign language in public engagements.
This will be a demonstration of a contribution to the genuine implementation of the UNCRPD, CEPO added.
The CEPO initiative of Disability Inclusion Advocacy, with support from Light for the World, is working closely to ensure people with disability’s rights are respected and implemented.