Communication principles are as varied within the Deaf community as the community is varied – from those who communicate orally to those who function on visual means of communication. In respect of early childhood social, cognitive, and psychological development, we recognize native signed languages as the Deaf community’s natural, effective, and efficient mode of communication. Access to a signed language is an essential human right of every Deaf individual, beginning at birth.
Recognizing that Deaf women, men, and children are and have been subject to vast inequalities around the globe, we proclaim a determination to uphold international standards of equality as defined in the United Nations corpora of human rights and humanitarian law, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
We value the dignity and inherent worth of all human beings across the globe, without distinction as to race, religion, age, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, gender, class, political affiliation, national or social origin, language, or any other defining characteristic. It is our intention to foster a sense of peace, stability, cooperation, and fulfillment across all sectors we serve.
Because diversity is as advantageous to humankind as biodiversity is to nature, we are committed to reflecting the rich cultural and linguistic heritage seen around the world within our organization. Pluralism and cross-cultural perspectives are our strength.
We identify education as a paramount tool to elevate all Deaf persons to full citizenship worldwide. This includes access to information via sign language from birth, and schooling that utilizes native signed languages—whether it is for elementary, post-secondary, vocational, or any other kind of training. Education also pertains to raising awareness among the society about the Deaf community as a viable linguistic and cultural minority.
Deaf people comprise a unique cultural and linguistic minority in every region of the world. Although individual sign languages and their distinct dialects vary from country to country, the experience of being Deaf has universal implications of belonging to a global Deaf network. This community values “Deaf Gain” and includes all those who identify as Deaf, Deaf-Blind, hard of hearing, oral deaf people, late deafened people, allies, and any other disability or intersectionality.
We wholly celebrate Deafhood – Deaf identity as a phenomenon with deep linguistic and cultural roots. In this journey of Deafhood, it is good and right to be Deaf. This reframing process reveals a destination of pride and embracing one’s Deaf identity, language and culture within the global Deaf community.