‘BREAK Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all’ is the message for this year’s international day for persons with disabilities, taking place today.
According to the UN over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability.
“Around the world, persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society,” the UN said.
They are disproportionately represented among the world’s poorest, and lack equal access to basic resources, such as education, employment, healthcare and social and legal support systems, as well as having a higher rate of mortality
The Cyprus Paraplegic Organisation (CPO) said that the message for this year’s day is extremely important for countries like Cyprus because the levels of accessibility are very low.
“This level means persons with disability are not treated equally and although there has been progress, it is not to a satisfactory improvement,” the organisation said.
CPO said that local authorities should be troubled that they are only doing the bare minimum to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs.
“There is insufficient accessibility to buildings,” the CPO said.
CPO is asking the government to ensure persons with disability have ease of access to all buildings so they are on an equal playing field with the rest of the population.
One in four families has a member who has some form of disability, and they have rights on a European and worldwide level following the signing of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disability in 2007.
“We hope this will promote the necessary changes in our country,” CPO said.