With the aim of improving the quality of life for the disabled, the Cyprus Paraplegic Organisation on Monday urged the state within the framework of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebrated today, Tuesday Dec. 3, to take the necessary measures in order to promote the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society.
The message is that of the United Nations - the necessity to "remove the barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all", said the Cyprus Paraplegic Organisation in an announcement marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The day raises awareness on disability issues and mobilises support to secure the rights, dignity and well-being of persons with disabilities.
It also aims for the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
"We ask from the state to secure this fundamental human right for people with disabilities through the introduction of social welfare policies for support of the disabled. There need to be policies that ensure that the costs of a person's disability and the services needed are covered to ensure that they have quality of life," said the organisation.
They added that one in four families has a member in their family who has some form of disability, however restricted mobility is still the situation in Cyprus. The disabled are therefore undervalued as they cannot enjoy equal opportunities to other citizens which leads to their marginalisation.
"There has been some progress however not to a great extent. Local authorities and the state need to take more efficient measures for people with disabilities and especially for those who are in a wheelchair.
"Access to most buildings is non-existent and these buildings have been constructed with legal requirements to meet the standards for access of disabled people which they have completely ignored."
The lack of access is a serious social issue in Cyprus as it is an obstacle to the social integration of people with disabilities.
"Disabled people have rights on an EU and international level, especially after the signing of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities 2007.
This is the first convention of human rights in the twenty-first century that marked the beginning of a more efficient tackling of disability issues worldwide and we are anticipating that it will also promote the necessary changes in our country."