Disability Rights

Worldwide, more than 1 billion individuals have a disability. In many countries, people with disabilities face countless abuses: they are denied the chance to go to school, languish for years in institutions, are subjected to horrific violence, or chained in their own homes - simply because they have a disability. This is often because of entrenched stigma, archaic laws and a lack of community-based services essential to ensuring their rights, as laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Human Rights Watch works to investigate and expose these hidden abuses, and advocate for change to improve the lives of people with disabilities, in partnership with them and their organizations across the globe. Read more about our disability rights work and the stories of the people we have met and collaborated with as we collectively work toward a world where every person enjoys their rights and dignity.


Our people

Nujeen Mustafa, a disability and refugee rights defender, speaks at the United Nations Security Council briefing, the first person with disability to do so, on April 24, 2019.

To mark the 10th anniversary of our Disability Rights Division, we are publishing a series of dispatches on a range of topics to advance the rights of people with disabilities and older people.

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Logo with the words #BreakTheChains against a purple background with a yellow chain

Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children across 60 countries are chained, simply for having a mental health condition. Together, we can help end this inhumane practice. Visit our new interactive page to learn more and pledge today to #BreakTheChains!