NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya plans to put in place regulations to promote the
use of local sign language, officials said on Thursday.
Peter Musakhi, senior assistant director of the ministry
of labor and social protection, told a forum for in
Nairobi that the government has already formed a
multi-agency committee to spearhead the development of
draft regulations to enhance the Kenya Sign Language.
“Once stakeholders have agreed to the regulations, it
will be presented to parliament for endorsement so as to
promote use of sign language,” Musakhi said during the
Kenyan Sign Language Interpreter Standards forum.
Musakhi said that the regulations will enable Kenya to
meet both local and international obligations.
“Once in place, the laws will enhance access to
information by the deaf population so that those with
hearing impairment can enjoy full access to their
rights,” Musakhi said.
The east African nation ratified the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in
2008 which requires countries to eliminate all forms of
discrimination against disabled people.
In addition, the 2010 constitution calls for Kenya to
promote use of sign language so that the deaf have
access to information.
Musakhi noted that in order to promote access to
information to the deaf, the law requires television
programs to incorporate use of sign language
According to government data, about 800,000 Kenyan have
one form of hearing impairment or another.
Musakhi said that the regulations will also promote the
employment of sign language interpreters in government
“The deaf people cannot access critical public services
due to lack of sign interpreters in judiciary and other
government offices,” he said.
The official said that the regulations will ensure that
disability issues are mainstreamed so that public
resources are allocated towards people with disability.
He noted that there is insufficient funds to cater for
education of deaf students in most public schools while
private schools are beyond the reach of most parents
with deaf children.
“The government is ready to partner with donors to
ensure that deaf children have access quality education
from an early age,” he added.