Statement by Hon. Minister of Human Services and Social Security on Guyana’s Observance of International Day of Sign Languages

Guyana is proud to join the global community in observing International Day of Sign Languages under the theme “Sign Languages are for Everyone” on Wednesday, September 23.  

As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, our aim is to encourage a society where every citizen enjoys his or her rights fully and where there is respect for all.

As a nation, we must enable them to be an integral part of mainstream society in every way. Education, employment opportunities and avenues that cater for their special needs will engender meaningful and fulfilling lives of those in this community.    It is an undeniable fact that persons with disabilities are often marginalised, discriminated against and suffer because of prejudices.    This has impacted negatively on their lives over the years.   They must be empowered to have their rights respected and to participate in and have access to opportunities in every sphere of life: education, health, employment, sports and other areas.  

It is incumbent upon us to be part of the transformative process and structure, to have a more just, equitable and inclusive society where individuals who are deaf feel valued and fully integrated.  The incorporation of sign languages in key areas across the country is critical. The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is committed to this process, and will be including sign language on many of our platforms, creating training opportunities and engaging someone in the Ministry to interface with this community.

Although there has been some progress made by the families and NGOs, more significant actions need to be taken in favour of deaf persons.

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security is committed to creating a national momentum among the government, the private sector, and NGOs to take on the challenges in building a more inclusive society ‐ a society where deaf persons and all persons with disabilities lead brighter and fulfilling lives.

Today, I call upon all of Guyana to respect and promote the human rights all deaf persons.

Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud, M.P
Minister of Human Services and Social Security