Report on the deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities

11 January 2019
Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
To the HRC at its 40th session on 5 March 2019


In this report, the Special Rapporteur reviews disability-specific forms of detention, their underlying causes and adverse consequences, and proposes alternative rights-based models. The report contains recommendations to assist States to develop and implement reforms to end deprivation of liberty based on disability. These include the abolition of laws and regulations allowing for deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability, the implementation of deinstitutionalization policies, and the conduct of awareness-raising campaigns.

Expert consultation

On 7 September 2015, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius Puras, convened an Expert meeting on the deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities on the basis of disability.

The purpose of the meeting was to:

  • Provide a platform to exchange views, share experiences and discuss challenges related to the obligation to abolish disability-specific forms of deprivation of liberty, including in the context of forced institutionalization in psychiatric and non-psychiatric settings, their impact on the right to health, and the interconnection with the enjoyment of other human rights such as the rights to legal capacity, to be free from arbitrary and unlawful detention and from torture and other ill-treatment, to live independently and be included in the community, and to social protection;
  • Identify concrete solutions to implement alternatives to disability-specific forms of deprivation of liberty that respect an individual’s human dignity, will and preferences (e.g., legislative, judicial, and administrative measures to release individuals from detention and forced treatment, to immediately stop these practices at a systemic level, and to implement de-institutionalization and community-based services).

Participants included 23 international experts, including international judges and lawyers, healthcare professionals, former/current Special Procedures mandate-holders, members of Treaty Body committees, representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society, and other practitioners, with experience in the areas of deprivation of liberty, mental health and the rights of persons with disabilities. The findings of the meeting contributed to inform the Special Rapporteur's report on the same issue.

Inputs received

Download questionnaire: EnglishFrench | Spanish

All inputs received in accessible formats are available below. Non-accessible formats are available upon request at


National Human Rights Institutions

Civil Society, including Organizations of Persons with Disabilities

Academics and Individuals

  • Elizabeth Anjorin (non-accessible format available upon request)
  • Glenn Floyd (non-accessible format available upon request)
  • John Chesterman (non-accessible format available upon request)
  • Rene Talbot and Uwe Pankow (non-accessible format available upon request)