Families Find A Way: Children with disabilities in war-torn Ukraine

Disability Rights International (DRI) and our affiliate Disability Rights Ukraine (DRU) have, over a ten-year period¹, documented the human rights concerns of more than 100,000 Ukrainian children – with and without disabilities – placed in congregate settings and left to grow up segregated from families and society in orphanages, boarding schools, psychiatric facilities, and other institutions.

New DRI Report - Families Find a Way: Children with disabilities in war-torn Ukraine

DRI asked more than 500 brave and courageous families living in Ukraine what they are now experiencing during the war and what they need. These interviews provide a blueprint of the change that must occur – by governments, donors, policymakers, caregivers, and communities during the war and recovery process. We must hear their stories and listen to their voices.

The disabled Ukrainians facing a lifetime of mistreatment and abuse – BBC News


Warning: Viewers may find some images in this report distressing.

BBC News has gained access to institutions in Ukraine where widespread abuse and mistreatment of disabled people has been uncovered. Around 100,000 children and young people live in these institutions, which pre-date the war with Russia. Human rights investigators say Ukraine should not join the European Union until it closes these institutions. The Ukrainian government has promised a series of reforms over the past few years, acknowledging that its system of institutionalisation needs to change.

Left Behind in the War: Dangers Facing Children with Disabilities In Ukraine’s Orphanages

In late April 2022, Disability Rights International (DRI) brought a team of people with disabilities and family activists, including medical and disability service experts, to visit Ukraine’s institutions for children with disabilities.  DRI visited three facilities for children aged six to adult, and one “baby” home for children from birth to age six.  DRI finds that Ukraine’s children with disabilities with the greatest support needs are living in atrocious conditions – entirely overlooked by major international relief agencies and receiving little support from abroad.  

Zaboravljena deca Srbije

Ovaj izveštaj, Zaboravljena deca Srbije, se zasniva na nalazima prikupljenim tokom 2019. godine i informacijama koje su DRI i MDRI-S prikupile do vremena njegovog objavljivanja i odnosi se prevashodno na položaj dece, ukazujući na kršenja ljudskih prava koja nisu razrešena i koja se i dalje dešavaju u institucijama socijalne zaštite. Tokom niza godina, DRI, MDRI-S i brojne druge organizacije su ukazivale Vladi Republike Srbije na veoma loše uslove, zlostavljanje, zanemarivanje i nečovečno postupanje koje je i dalje prisutno u institucijama. Vlada Srbije nije preduzela adekvatne korake niti pozvala počinioce na odgovornost.

Serbia’s Forgotten Children

This report, Forgotten Children of Serbia, is based on findings of investigations conducted from 2019 to the present by DRI and the Mental Disability Rights Initiative of Serbia (MDRI-S) and, focusing especially on children, shows that these human rights concerns have been permitted to continue. The Serbian government has been put on notice about the atrocious conditions, abuse, and torture taking place in its facilities through years of advocacy by DRI, MDRI-S, and other allies and has failed to take action or hold abusers accountable.

Joint contribution of disability rights organisations to the 2021 EU-Ukraine Human Rights Dialogue

This submission focuses on the situation of children in institutions and the status of the deinstitutionalisation process in Ukraine. Disability Rights International (DRI), European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) and Validity Foundation commend the commitment of European Union to promote the fundamental rights for persons with disabilities and in particular its commitment to deinstitutionalisation of children globally.