Cyprus Mail

‘So much more should be done’ for disabled, MPs told

Significant gaps remain for those with disabilities in terms of accessibility and welfare, MPs said on Monday.

Members of the House human rights committee met to discuss the implementation of the Second National Disability Action Plan.

Chairperson of the committee, Disy MP Mariella Aristidou, highlighted the progress made by focusing on the seven family-owned houses in various communities that will serve a total of 35 people with severe disabilities, with three new houses underway.

“Many steps have already been taken,” she said. “Our goal is to enable people with disabilities to be able to have an active social life in Cyprus.”

But Akel MP Skevi Koukouma painted a different picture.

She said that Eurostat data shows how Cyprus is in the last position among EU countries when it comes to spending on people with disabilities and that 52.2 per cent of people with disabilities are currently unable to cover their expenses.

Other stats mentioned by Koukouma reveal how 24.8 per cent of people with disabilities cannot afford to pay utility bills, 57.3 per cent cannot meet unexpected expenses and 62.1 per cent are unable to plan a holiday.

“Unfortunately, there is still so much that could and should be done. People with disabilities are waiting for legislative changes since 2013 and 30 laws are still currently incompatible with modern approaches to disability.

“Cyprus needs to meet its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” she said.

Last December, during a meeting with Anastasiades, the head of Cyprus Confederation of Disability Organisations (Kysoa) and Coordinator of the Cyprus Disability Alliance, Christakis Nicolaides underlined the need for the state to put in place a meaningful and in-depth consultation with Kysoa, in a bid to “reduce the exclusion and marginalisation issues that the majority of people with disabilities often have to suffer”.

He also called for an increase in existing financial benefits currently available to some groups of people with disabilities, regardless of their income.

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