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Cyprus

House discusses updating language on disabilities

Disy MP Stella Kyriakidou

The law on ‘mentally retarded’ persons prepared 30 years ago should be renamed with the term ‘mental disabilities’, parliament’s human rights committee heard on Monday.

In the first session after a long break due to the presidential elections, committee chairwoman Stella Kyriakidou told MPs the current term is outdated.

Akel MP Skevi Koukouma said talking about the name was simply a face value improvement while the ‘real problems of these people are left on the sidelines’.

“We recognise the importance of this change but the problems people with disabilities face are many,” she said.

Nonetheless, Kyriakidou added ‘we don’t believe changing the term will modernise the entire legislation’, but it is a first step.

“A new bill which modernises all matters concerning people with mental disabilities should be prepared,” she said.

According to Kyriakidou, a bill had been prepared in 2011 and submitted to the committee, but it was withdrawn for reasons not disclosed during the session.

“We are in 2018 and the bill, which should have been completed in 2011 and 2012, has been left in limbo by the government and no one is bothering with the essence of the matter, which concerns the legal capacity of people with mental disabilities,” Koukouma said.

The matter is set to be discussed again in April.

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