World celebrates International Day of Sign Languages

Today is the International Day of Sign Languages, which marks a day to support and safeguard the linguistic and cultural identity of all deaf people and other sign language users.

World celebrates International Day of Sign Languages

Today is the International Day of Sign Languages, which marks a day to support and safeguard the linguistic and cultural identity of all deaf people and other sign language users.

This year's theme is 'We Sign for Human Rights', which aims to show how both deaf and hearing impaired people worldwide can unite to advocate for the recognition of the right to use sign languages in all areas.

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Data from the 2016 Census showed that 11,682 people used Auslan (Australian sign language), which has increased from 5306 in 2001.

For the first time, the question asking 'Does (person) use a language other than English at home?', included Auslan as a language prompt in the 2021 Census.

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Sign language interpreter Mike 'Mikey' Webb said there are still some stigmas that need to be overcome.

"My parents (were) being ignored. So if they were trying to communicate stuff they were always put in the too hard basket because people generally couldn't communicate with them," Mr Webb told 9news.com.au.

"To me if you give a deaf person access, I think the general community would be really surprised by what this community can offer."

The World Federation of the Deaf says there are more than 70 million deaf people in the world, with over 80 per cent living in developing countries.

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Mr Webb frequently does sign language interpretation for COVID-19 press conferences and says they can be quite fast-paced.

"You've definitely got to be on your game and when it comes to doing those conferences and stuff like that you need a really good understanding and knowledge of what's being talked about," he said.

Associate Professor of Linguistics at Monash University, Louisa Willoughby, said it is also important that deaf people from migrant and refugee communities are not overlooked.

"Where the challenge is is that a lot of deaf people from migrant backgrounds are people who've often just sort of stayed at home in the country they've come from," Associate Professor Willoughby said.

"They haven't necessarily learnt their country's sign language and they might communicate with something that we call a home sign system."

Associate Professor Willoughby said it can be very challenging for those people to learn Auslan.

She added that the International Day of Sign Languages was integral for recognising that "sign languages are real languages".

"They're very complex languages. They're a lot more than just gesture systems and that they are an incredibly valuable thing for deaf people to know," she said.

Source : 9 News More   

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New visas granted to Biloela family, but they still can't go home

Supporters of the Murugappan family say the family remains mired in community detention in Perth despite three of the four being granted new bridging visas.

New visas granted to Biloela family, but they still can't go home

Supporters of the Murugappan family say the family remains mired in community detention in Perth despite three of the four being granted new bridging visas.

The Home to Bilo group says the family is still unable to return to their home in the Queensland town of Biloela, after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his Migration Act powers to grant 12-month bridging visas to dad Nades, mum Priya and eldest daughter Kopika.

However, the youngest daughter, Tharni, who earlier this year become so ill in detention that she needed urgent medical care, still has not been granted one.

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The family has been living in detention since 2019, with much of that time spent on Christmas Island.

The family's supporters said they were "surprised" by the Minister's decision.

"Australian law gives Minister Hawke the power to bring this sorry saga to a close with the stroke of a pen, by issuing the same visa to four-year-old Tharni that he has granted to her mum, dad and sister," said Biloela resident and family friend, Angela Fredericks.

"Just like her sister Kopika, Tharnicaa was born in Queensland, and that's where she and her family belong."

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Tharnicaa Biloela is being evacuated to Perth after being hospitalised on Christmas Island.

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Ms Fredericks said "experienced migration lawyers" said they had never heard of a child being denied a visa granted to the rest of the family.

"There is simply no reason to deny Tharni a bridging visa other than to stop her family coming home to Biloela, where they are welcome, wanted and needed," she said.

Nine.com.au has contacted the minister's office for comment.

Source : 9 News More   

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