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People with disabilities to protest in front of presidential palace

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File photo

People with disabilities in Cyprus are not treated with dignity but instead ignored and looked upon with pity, Cyprus’ confederation of organisations of the disabled (Kysoa) said on Wednesday, announcing they would hold a demonstration outside the presidential palace.

The demonstration will take place on December 2, ahead of the International Day of Disabled Persons marked around the world on December 3. Participants will protest for “the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, instigated by the state they expect protection from.”

Kysoa added Cyprus has the second lowest benefits and grants that go toward disabled persons from all EU member states. “Meanwhile services for the disabled are almost non-existent.”

The confederation said citizens that have disabilities should be active participants in the decision-making processes for matters concerning them. This would allow for better integration in society, access to public transport, participation in sports, entertainment, culture, and free expression.

“People with disabilities are forgotten by the state. They don’t receive answers to their letters from the president, his ministers or state services to their requests.”

“People with disabilities did not receive any extra financial – or otherwise – support for the pandemic, the financial hardship, energy crisis, high prices and poverty that affects first and foremost people with disabilities and their families, that feel completely abandoned by the state.”

The demonstration will also see people call for an end of “embarrassing evaluation criteria” and discriminatory practises that marginalise people and strip them of opportunities, including in the realm of education.

“People with disabilities are not seen as carriers of human rights but as objects of pity and charity.”

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