The state has failed on social welfare issues, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou conceded on Saturday, and the government has decided to change its social welfare policy completely.
Addressing the General Assembly of the Cyprus Confederation of Organisations of the Disabled (CCOD), Emilianidou said that that it was primarily a state’s obligation to support people with disabilities, so that they remained active members of society.
“The state has failed to a large extent on social welfare issues,” she said.
Although there has been progress on issues and problems related to the disabled in the previous years, there is much to be done to remove obstacles and facilitate those people in areas such as employment, accessibility, education, and culture.
The minister said that since 2006 a consultation on several issues, between the government and the CCOD as a social partner, is mandatory.
Emilianidou also said that in July of this year, the cabinet approved the first National Action Plan on Disability, which sets out the next steps and actions to be implemented for the integration of people with disabilities in society.
The National Action Plan initially covers the period 2013-2015 and includes actions that involve independent living, vocational rehabilitation, education, accessibility, health, gender equality, and combating discrimination.
“Despite the financial constraints facing the state, we will continue to provide support through various programmes, measures and actions to cover the personal needs in care, movement and rehabilitation,” she said.