DRF-DRAF Press Release on COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) statement

Contact: Melanie Kawano-Chiu, Evaluation & Learning Manager
Disability Rights Fund & Disability Rights Advocacy Fund
Email: mkawanochiu@disabilityrightsfund.org

COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) calls for an emergency response to the catastrophic abuse of human rights of persons with disabilities in institutions 

Over the last four months, the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) has been gathering data to conduct rapid independent monitoring of state measures concerning persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic through a global survey. More than 1,800 responses have been received from people in more than 120 countries worldwide. One of the main concerns expressed has been the grave and systemic violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights of persons with disabilities detained in large- and small-scale institutions, which have become the epicenter of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The seven organizations coordinating the COVID-19 DRM call upon national governments around the world to fulfill their obligations under international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). We call on governments, funders, and global actors to take the following emergency response steps to avoid further catastrophe.

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.

European Network on Independent Living logo

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.


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.


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.

Download Announcement (Word version)

Download the DRF-DRAF Press Release (Word version)