Shantha Rau Barriga is director of the disability rights division at Human Rights Watch. She leads research and advocacy on human rights abuses against persons with disabilities worldwide, including in China, Croatia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Peru, Russia, Uganda, the United States and Zambia. She has worked on a range of issues including: the shackling of people with psychosocial disabilities, denial of education for children with disabilities, violence against women and girls with disabilities, institutionalization of children and adults with disabilities, and the neglect of people with disabilities in humanitarian emergencies.
Shantha was a member of the UNICEF Advisory Board for the 2013 State of the World’s Children report and the WHO expert group on violence against children with disabilities in institutional settings. She is also a member of the International Network of Women with Disabilities.
Before joining Human Rights Watch, Shantha participated in the negotiations toward the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Shantha received degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the University of Michigan, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Austria. She speaks German and Kannada, an Indian language.