NICOSIA - Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos yesterday pledged to make every possible effort to improve current legislation to ensure better accessibility and quality of life for the disabled.
Speaking at a seminar titled “Accessibility and quality of life for the disabled”, Mitsopoulos said the government aims for Cyprus to be among countries implementing international prototypes for the accessibility of the disabled.
“The government aim is for Cyprus to be among these countries that respect the rights of the disabled and care for the continuous improvement of their quality of life with the implementation of international and European treaties,” he also said.
The Minister expressed the belief that during periods of recession like now the state and society have to protect and support vulnerable groups to which the disabled belong.
“A modern and strong legal framework is already in place in Cyprus for the protection of the rights of the disabled, with laws implemented since the 1990s,” he said.
Mitsopoulos referred to the UN treaty for the rights of the disabled as a landmark charter for member states in handling disability.
On the basis of the treaty Cyprus has priorities concerning the disabled including equality and abolition of discrimination, increasing public awareness and statistics.
Accessibility, transport and information are also deemed important in efforts to improve the quality of life for the disabled, Mitsopoulos said, noting that mobility, social protection and integration, education and health and employment were also considered significant.
Cabinet has recently given the nod to the first report on the disabled to the UN and the first action plan for disability for 2013-2015.
“The recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities is a non-negotiable constitutional right of every civilised society,” Mitsopoulos told delegates.
Addressing the meeting, Ombudsman Eliza Savvidou said that austerity measures during the economic crisis should not worsen the situation of the disabled.