Displacement and Disabilities in Ukraine What’s Happened to Children with Disabilities in the Conflict?
Some 15 million people have been displaced in less than 10 months because of the war in
Ukraine. About 8 million as refugees who fled to surrounding countries and another 7 million as
internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Ukrainian territory. A lesser known fact or certainly
less discussed is that among these displaced millions are large numbers of people with
disabilities. People with disabilities are at greater risk during conflicts and more susceptible to
displacement, often without their families.
Join us for a discussion with Eric Rosenthal, Founder & Executive Director of Disability Rights
International (DRI) . As an investigator, activist and lawyer, Mr. Rosenthal has witnessed first-
hand the impact of displacement on Ukrainians with disabilities, with an emphasis on the
situation of children in residential care.
Dating back to the Soviet era, Ukraine has a long history of institutionalizing children with
disabilities as well as other children and adults. Even before the war, DRI urged the Ukrainian
government to de-institutionalize the care of children. Based on his experience in Ukraine, Mr.
Rosenthal will address displacement and what has and continues to happen to institutionalized
children with disabilities as a result of the Russian war.
Eric Rosenthal, JD, LLD (hon) has conducted investigations and trained activists in more than 25
countries since founding Disability Rights International in 1993. He has advised governments
and international organizations on disability rights and played a key role in developing the UN
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In recognition of his work, he has
received important human rights awards. DRI has released publications on the issue of children
with disabilities in Ukraine as well as a video produced by the BBC.
*Moderated by Elizabeth Ferris, Director of ISIM, with closing comments by
Quill Kukla, Director of Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program