Disability Rights Monitor Calls for End to Police Violence

August 4, 2020 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Contact: Melanie Kawano-Chiu, Evaluation & Learning Manager
Disability Rights Fund & Disability Rights Advocacy Fund
Email: mkawanochiu@disabilityrightsfund.org

As a member of the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM), DRF/DRAF call for an end to police violence and abuse against persons with disabilities and their family members

The COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) has collected data on government measures concerning persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic through a global survey. More than 2,000 responses have been received from people in more than 130 countries worldwide. Collected data has shown that persons with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, violence, and abuse in countries with curfews and strong police or military presence. Persons with disabilities in France, Kenya, the Philippines, Serbia, and Uganda have been harassed, abused and in the most extreme case, killed, by police forces during the pandemic. As a result, respondents from around the world reported that they are living in fear of the police.

As the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and its sister organization, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF) know, unfortunately, police violence against persons with disabilities does not just happen within the COVID-19 context. In late May 2020, Iyad Hallaq, an autistic Palestinian man walking to his special needs school was shot and killed by Israeli forces. Many others such as Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray are well-known by many Americans as persons of color that have been killed by police. It is less known that they were all Black Americans with disabilities. Research indicates that anywhere from one out of four to one out of two people killed by police in the U.S. are persons with disabilities. As the national conversation in the United States continues around police brutality towards Black Americans, persons of color with disabilities are also demonstrating for the end to police brutality. Although national data is not collected by the U.S. Department of Justice, police violence against persons with disabilities in the United States has been documented since 2014 within United Nations Convention Against Torture monitoring and United States Senate Judiciary Committee hearings

The seven organizations coordinating the COVID-19 DRM, including DRF/DRAF, express collective alarm about increasing police violence against persons with disabilities now in the context of the pandemic, and are calling on governments around the world to take urgent steps to prevent these acts of brutality. Governments must fulfill their obligations under international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and take immediate steps to avoid further harm to persons with disabilities by police and security forces.

For more information:

Members of the Coalition 

Validity Logo

The Validity Foundation – Mental Disability Advocacy Centre is an international non-governmental human rights organisation which uses legal strategies to promote, protect and defend the human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with psychosocial disabilities in Europe and Africa. Validity holds special consultative status with ECOSOC and participatory status at the Council of Europe. Website: www.validity.ngo.

The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is an international network of disabled people, with members throughout Europe. ENIL is a forum for all disabled people, Independent Living organizations and their non-disabled allies on the issues of Independent Living. ENIL represents the disability movement for human rights and social inclusion based on solidarity, peer support, deinstitutionalization, democracy, self-representation, cross disability and self-determination. Website: www.enil.eu.

International Disability Alliance logo

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) is an Alliance of 14 global and regional organisations of persons with disabilities. Together, the IDA Members promote the rights of persons with disabilities across the United Nations’ efforts to advance human rights and sustainable development. IDA supports organisations of persons with disabilities to hold their governments to account and advocate for change locally, nationally and internationally. Website: www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org.

Disability Rights International logo

Disability Rights International (DRI) is a human rights advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and full community inclusion of children and adults with disabilities worldwide. DRI documents human rights violations, educates and engages the public through media campaigns, trains and supports activists working to bring change, and conducts strategic litigation to enforce the rights of people with disabilities. DRI’s Worldwide Campaign to End the Institutionalization of Children is dedicated to promoting the recognition and enforcement of the right of all children to live and grow up with a family and not in any form of institution, orphanage, or group home. DRI is an organization led by people with disabilities and their families. Website: www.driadvocacy.org.

Centre for Human Rights Logo

The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is committed to finding evidence-based ways of addressing the rights of persons with disabilities on the African continent. This includes conducting research on international disability rights standards and instruments, building capacity among governments, national human rights institutions, academia, civil society and communities, and engaging with judicial, quasi-judicial and non-judicial redress mechanisms. Website: https://www.chr.up.ac.za/units/disability-rights-unit.

IDDC Logo

The International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) is a global consortium of 31 disability and development non-governmental organisations (NGOs), mainstream development NGOs and representative organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) supporting inclusive international development and humanitarian action with a special focus on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by all people with disabilities in more than 150 countries around the world. Website: www.iddcconsortium.net.

DRF DRAF Logo

The Disability Rights Fund (DRF), and its sister organization, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), are pooled funds and participatory grantmakers, bringing together global disability rights activists and donors to resource organizations of persons with disabilities across Africa, Asia, Pacific and Caribbean to advocate for advancement of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at national and local levels. With more than 50% of grants supporting organizations of persons with disabilities marginalized within the disability movement, DRF supports persons with disabilities around the world to build diverse movements, ensure inclusive development agendas, and achieve equal rights and opportunity for all. DRAF supports work to advance legal frameworks to realize rights. Websites: https://disabilityrightsfund.org and https://drafund.org.

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