Disability Rights Defenders


Disability Rights Defenders is a network of individuals and organizations with an interest in disability rights and disability law. Our purpose is to spread and deepen legal expertise about disability rights among disabled persons, disabled people’s organization, lawyers and law schools. We invite people interested in disability rights to join our closed facebook-group “Disability Rights Defenders” to share their experiences, methods and advice. Content shared in the facebook-group is summarized in a newsletter at least once a year. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

 Together we spread information and knowledge on how to use the law as a tool to implement and defend the rights of disabled people. We welcome contributions in the form of brief descriptions of legal cases, court decisions, references to legislation, publications, reports as well as announcements of events, learning and funding opportunities.

Are you looking for Disability Rights Defenders Sweden? Go to https://drds.se/.

Freedom to choose with whom, where and how you want to live – Deinstitutionalisation (DI) in Sweden

Karlsson, Riitta-Leena, Bolling Jamie.  2022.  Freedom to choose with whom, where and how you want to live – Deinstitutionalisation (DI) in Sweden.
In this publication, Jamie Bolling and Riitta-Leena Karlsson examine what is required to provide persons with disabilities with opportunities to live like others. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and existing Swedish laws, not least the Social Services Act (SoL) and the Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments (LSS), support this goal. However, as the authors note, the implementation recently has become restrained in a manner that has impaired the possibilities to do so for many.

DRD Newsletter June 2022

In this edition of the DRD newsletter you are invited to save the date for the CRPD COSP and the ENIL/DRD side event. You can also read several articles on the theme of or around deinstitutionalisation in the EU context with the ENIL comparison between care and personal assistance, the  Swedish context with ILIs DI paper and an account of a loss of social services and the lack of choice in living arrangements and lastly on personal assistance in the Norwegian context: 


  1. Save the date for the COSP on June 14 – 16 at 21:15 CET for the ENIL/DRD side event “Resisting calls to invest in institutions – a discussion with funders, policy makers and DPOs.
  2. What is a COSP? gives a little background on the COSP of the CRPD.
  3. EU Mass Directive and what it means for disabled Ukrainians.
  4. Save the date for the Swedish workshop on the DI guidelines.
  5. Guidelines for consultation on deinstitutionalisation.
  6. ENIL Care VS Personal Assistance.
  7. The Independent Living Institute’s publication called “ The Freedom to decide with whom, where and how to live - Deinstitutionalization in Sweden ” on the history of Sweden closing the larger institutions from January 2000 but where with cuts there is the threat of reinstitutionalisation.
  8. Annika's daughter forced to move to group housing - "An abuse".

  9. Battle for future personal assistance in Norway is an English version of the Norwegian article published on the webpage of AssistansKoll

  10. Won Finnish case against discrimination of disabled people and the libert


Comparison between personal assistance and home care work

Mladenov, Teodor, Elder-Woodward Jim, Siilsalu Mari, Cojocariu Ines Bulic, Hadad Nadia, Angelova-Mladenova Lilia.  2022.  Comparison between personal assistance and home care work.

 This document was co-created in May 2022 by Teodor Mladenov (University of Dundee), Jim Elder-Woodward (Scottish Independent Living Coalition), Mari Siilsalu (Independent Living Institute), Ines Bulic Cojocariu (European Network on Independent Living), Nadia Hadad (European Network on Independent Living), and Lilia Angelova-Mladenova (European Network on Independent Living).

Decision adopted by the UN CRPD Committee against Finland under article 5 of the Optional Protocol, concerning CRPD art 5, 14 and 19

The UN CRPD Committee found that the fact that the relevant domestic authorities in Finland rejected the author’s application for personal assistance on the basis of resource criteria is indirect discrimination against persons with intellectual disabilities as it had the effect of impairing or nullifying the author’s enjoyment and exercise of the right of living independently and being included in the community on an equal basis with others, in violation of his rights under article 5 (1) and (2) read alone and in conjunction with article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Di

Meeting of the Disability Rights Defenders Nordic network on February 2, 2022

Come to the Meeting of the Disability Rights Defenders Nordic network on February 2, 2022 – Time: 13:00 – 16:00 CET

This meeting is a follow up from the Nordic network meeting in November 2020. Representation is confirmed from Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

On the agenda:

  • our work with the CRPD,
  • our work with personal assistance, obstacles and cooperation going forward.

Please confirm attendance to me by January 22, 2022 – Jamie.bolling@independentliving.org . Welcome!

Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter December 2021


This Disability Defenders Network Newsletter is dedicated to Kapka Panayotova

 Jamie Bolling 


Narrative Report ‘Disability Rights Defenders’/ ‘IL Nordic Network’ September 2020 – June 2021

Independent Living Institute.  2021.  Narrative Report ‘Disability Rights Defenders’/ ‘IL Nordic Network’ September 2020 – June 2021.


Disability Rights Defenders (DRD) / ‘IL Nordic Network’ is a project of Independent Living Institute (ILI)[1]. This report summarizes the activities, results and outcome of DRD from September 2020 to June 2021.

Webinar 'Legal remedies through litigation for the rights of disabled people' November 2020

The ILI projects Disability Rights Defenders and Article 19 as a tool together with the ENIL - the European Network on Independent Living held a webinar on "Legal remedies through strategic litigation for the rights of disabled people"on the 17th of November 2020. The recording of the webinar can be watched on youtube.

DRD Kick-off meeting: the Nordic focus!

Disability Rights Defenders is in its third year now and in this current project period we put our focus on the Nordic countries. Therefore DRD held a kick-off meeting on the 5th of November, 14.00 - 17.00, to discuss the future development of the network and potential co-operations in the Nordic. The recording of the meeting can be found here.

Key speakers were Adolf Ratzka and Vibeke Melstrom who shared their point of view and vision as a basis for a discussion on what is needed and how the network should develop in general. Together with the 40 participants we discussed the Nordic focus, how and with whom to co-operate etc. To get some ideas we heard some voices from different Nordic countries about the situation and what is needed in their countries. The meeting was moderated by Jamie Bolling, director of ILI. The following report summarizes shortly the highlights of the DRD Kick-off meeting. 

Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter November 2020

In this newsletter, we share court cases and resources with you and others with an interest in disability rights. We inform about webinars, news and job opportunities. This time we want to highlight our upcoming DRD Webinar on “Legal remedies through strategic litigation for the rights of disabled people” that we host together with the project “Article 19 As a Tool” and ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living on the 17th of November, 14.00 - 16.00 CET. We invite lawyers, law students, disability and human rights advocates, disabled people's organisations and all persons with an interest in strategic litigation to join the meeting. We look forward to a fruitful discussion!

  1. Court Cases
  2. Resources
  3. Webinars
  4. Surveys
  5. News
  6. Job opportunity
  7. Request for information


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