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Hopes for Accessible Voting on Election Day Dashed

In the weeks leading up to the October 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) promised to take steps to ensure people with disabilities could vote. But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s…
A man helps his mother as she casts her ballot during the parliamentary elections in Basra, Iraq on October 10, 2021.
News

Lawmakers Have Opportunity to Get Services to Hundreds of Thousands on Waitlists

The overwhelming majority of older people and people with disabilities in the United States, no matter how they vote, prefer to live at home rather than in a residential institution like a nursing home. Accordingly, millions of people access home and…
Disability rights activists and caregiving advocates hold a vigil in front of the US Capitol to urge Congress to include full federal funding for home and community-based care services in the budget reconciliation package on October 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.
News

National Campaign Urges Provinces to Cancel Contracts Enabling Abuses

(Ottawa) – Provincial governments should sever their contracts to hold immigration detainees in provincial jails, where many experience abusive conditions, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today in opening a joint national campaign, #…
Red and black illustration of people in detention
News

Progress Toward Accessibility Ahead of Elections, but Gaps Remain

Next week, Iraq will hold parliamentary elections, but many people with disabilities are effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places. Iraq, plagued by decades of violence and war, has one…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018.
News

The SC Order is Welcome, But More Needs to Be Done for People with Disabilities

I vividly remember the first time visited a mental hospital in Mumbai. In one room, dozens of people lay on the dirty floor, the stench of urine overpowering the air. The women wore shabby green uniforms, their heads shaved because of the…
Women with perceived or actual psychosocial disabilities at a mental hospital in Mumbai
News

Failure to Protect Older People, People with Disabilities in British Columbia

(Ottawa) – Inadequate government support compounded risks for people with disabilities and older people during the recent extreme and foreseeable heatwave that killed hundreds of people in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), Human Rights…
A woman sits to take a rest as heat wave hits Western Canada on June 30, 2021 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. © 2021 Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
News

Stories from People with Disabilities During Canada’s Extreme Heatwave

When temperatures in British Columbia, Canada, soared to nearly 50 degrees Celsius/122 degrees Fahrenheit this past summer, people with disabilities and older people were left unprotected. Hundreds of older people died. Heatwaves are expected to become…
Camper van at sunset
News

Significant Victory Requires Holistic Approach to Implementation

I vividly remember the first time visited a mental hospital in Mumbai. In one room, dozens of people lay on the dirty floor, the stench of urine overpowering the air. The women wore shabby green…
Women lying on the ground in a room.
News

At Summit, Governments Should Commit to Scale Up Community Services

(Paris) – Governments and donors should take concrete steps to develop rights-respecting and community-based mental health services, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to governments in advance of the third Global Mental Health Summit. The…
A man sitting on the floor in a dilapidated room, with his ankles locked by a metal bar.
News

Governments Should Make Information Accessible to All

Imagine that during a national emergency, you and your loved ones are at risk. The government is announcing information that could have a profound impact on your safety, but you don’t have access to it because it hasn’t been made available to you.…
A sign language interpreter records sign language lessons that are broadcast on public television, at an elementary school in Athens, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. 
News

Marginalization and Exclusion Imperils Rights, New UN Expert Report Finds

Ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice, and/or discrimination of individuals or groups based on their age – is all around us. One just has to look at a rack of birthday cards for images ridiculing older people or the rows of “anti-ageing” creams on the…
Rohingya people refugees carry an older woman on the way to camp at Shahpori Island, in Teknaf, Bangladesh on September 13, 2017. 
Report
Summary Iraq is holding parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021. Without change, hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities will face barriers to participation and some of them may not be able to vote. The exact number of people with…
News

Urgent Need to Improve Accessibility Before Upcoming Elections

(Beirut) – People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018. 
News

Make Safe Visits to Aged Care Homes a Reality

For the first time in 12 weeks, residents of Sydney, Australia are now allowed to gather outdoors with up to four friends who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Since a fresh Covid-19 outbreak in late June, millions of people in Sydney have…
Summitcare aged care facility in Baulkham Hills in Sydney, Australia, July 4, 2021.
News

Statement to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Shantha Rau Barriga, Disability Rights Director, Human Rights Watch

Madame Chair, distinguished members of the Committee, partners and allies, You are told not to leave your home. No one can visit. Food and other supplies are limited. You are waiting for authorities to tell you when you can enjoy your freedom again.…
News

Bryan Russell, Who Has Down Syndrome, Fights for Inclusive Schools, Political Participation

(New York) – Bryan Russell, a Peruvian human rights advocate, is the 2021 recipient of the Human Rights Watch Marca Bristo Fellowship for Courageous Leadership in Disability Rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Russell, 29, is a passionate…
News

Storm Highlights Need for Inclusive Disaster Planning in the US

Hurricane Ida made landfall in the southern US state of Louisiana last week, leaving thousands of people displaced and millions without power or access to other resources. Among those most at risk during the storm and in its aftermath have been people…
Occupants prepare to depart the Renaissance Place senior living apartments in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on September 3, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
News

Repeal New Segregated Education Policy for People with Disabilities

On August 17, Brazilian Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro made harmful remarks about children with disabilities, saying they “disturbed” other students and that some are “impossible to live with.” Later, he apologized to “those who were offended”…
A young girl who does not attend school, living in an institution in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 6, 2016.
News

Gaps in Services Create Risks for Institutionalization, Violate Rights

(Moscow) – The Russian government is not providing adequate resources for home-based services for older people, denying some of them the ability to live independent and dignified lives, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite legislative reform to…
A pensioner carries logs in the courtyard of her wooden house where she opened a private museum of the old quarter.