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Austrian Sign Language receives UNESCO recognition

5 December 2013
The BDA welcomes the news from the Austrian Deaf Association (ÖGLB) that Austrian Sign Language (Österreichische Gebärdensprache, ÖGS) now forms part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in their country.
ÖGS must now be promoted and safeguarded according to the provisions of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is the first sign language ever to receive such recognition.
Claudia Schönwetter-Vogt, the Policy and communication officer at the ÖGLB told the BDA that they were still trying to discover what the benefits will be besides raising awareness. "Measures that may protect and promote ÖGS could include awareness raising campaigns, educational programmes, specific education of the signing community." she said.
Austrian Deaf Association President Helene Jarmer said: "Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS) is the basis upon which the rich and diverse Deaf culture in our country has been built. The inscription in the inventory obliges Austria to maintain ÖGS and guarantee its transmission from one generation to the next.“
To read the full text of the ÖGS entry in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage register go to: