Mission Statement

Disability Rights International is dedicated to promoting the human rights and full participation in society of people with disabilities worldwide.

Our Worldwide Campaign to End the Institutionalization of Children seeks to draw attention to, and end, the pervasive and abusive practice of institutionalizing children with disabilities.


Disability Rights International was established in 1993 by attorney Eric Rosenthal. Based in Washington DC, Disability Rights International documents human rights abuses, publishes reports on human rights enforcement, and promotes international oversight of the rights of people with disabilities.

Children are the most vulnerable members of any society. Founded by DRI President Laurie Ahern, our Worldwide Campaign to End Institutionalization of Children fights to protect children suffering today and seeks to stop the next generation of children with disabilities from ever being locked away and forgotten.

Drawing on the skills and experience of attorneys, mental health professionals, human rights advocates, people with disabilities and their family members, Disability Rights International trains and supports advocates seeking legal and service system reform and assists governments in developing laws and policies to promote community integration and human rights enforcement for people with disabilities. DRI is forging new alliances throughout the world to challenge the discrimination and abuse faced by people with disabilities, as well as working with locally based advocates to create new advocacy projects and to promote citizen participation and human rights for children and adults.

Diagram of the DRI Theory of Change