Juror Profile

Shantha Rau Barriga
Her Abilities is a unique award that puts a spotlight on the achievements of women with disabilities. By showcasing the important contributions of women with disabilities in different fields, the award can contribute to changing people’s perceptions about disability and gender. It is also an excellent opportunity to empower women with disabilities and bring visibility to their work. I’m honored to a part of this initiative.
Photo: Shantha Rau Barriga


Disability Rights Director, Human Rights Watch


United States

Short Biography

Shantha Rau Barriga is the director of the disability rights division at Human Rights Watch, where she leads research and advocacy on human rights abuses against persons with disabilities worldwide, including on violence and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities. Shantha also promotes mainstreaming of disability rights within the human rights agenda, including through advocacy at the United Nations and European Union. She is a founding member of the International Network of Women with Disabilities, and serves as an Expert Advisor on the Catalyst for Inclusive Education. She was on the UNICEF Advisory Board for the 2013 State of the World’s Children report.

Before joining Human Rights Watch, Shantha participated in the UN negotiations toward the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Shantha received degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the University of Michigan, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Austria.