Government Implementation of
the Standard Rules
As Seen By Member Organizations of
Inclusion International - ILSMH
Download 'ILSMH Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (258 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Christos Steliou Ioannou Foundations, Cyprus
Compare with the following Country Report(s): the Cypriot Government, ILSMH (Cyprus Parents Association for Mentally Disabled Persons)
The officially recognized disability policy is expressed in law and in guidelines adopted by the government. According to the Government, disability policy is also expressed in guidelines adopted by a National disability Council. The emphasis in this national policy is on rehabilitation and individual support.
Since the adoption of the Rules the government has not done anything to convey the message of full participation. According to the Government actions have been taken in order to initiate and support information campaigns conveying the message of full participation such as celebrations during the International Day of disabled, press conferences by the Ministry of labour and Social Insurance, use of mass media and seminars.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special legislation, dealing exclusively with disability matters, and general legislation, applicable to all citizens. There is no judicial mechanism to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Non-judicial bodies include a governmental body (administrative) for that purpose. According to the Government, judicial mechanisms include due process (legal remedy through courts), while non-judicial mechanisms also include an Ombudsman and committees for the protection of the rights of the people with mental handicap.
The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, financial security.
No new legislation concerning disability has been enacted since the adoption of the Rules.
There are no rules to ensure accessibility of the built environment. According to the Government there are laws to ensure accessibility in the built environment requiring that public places and the outdoor environment are made accessible. The following measures have been promoted to facilitate accessibility in the built environment: levelling off pavements (partially by local authorities), marking parking areas (partially by local authorities) and ensuring access to public places. There are no special transport arrangements for persons with disabilities. According to the Government there is special transport available for medical treatment and education. The most difficult obstacles, when planning to build accessible environments, are attitudinal factors, lack of legislation and regulations. According to the Government, economic/budgetary factors are difficult obstacles when building accessible environments. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers. The Government states that there is such a component.
Sign language for deaf people is recognized as the official language of deaf people. According to the Government, sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status, is neither used as the first language in education of deaf people nor recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are no government measures to encourage media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities. According to the Government there are measures to encourage media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible. The following service is provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others: literature in Braille/tape. According to the Government even news magazines on tape/Braille and sign language interpretation for major events are likewise provided.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is no national umbrella organization. According to the Government there is such an organization. There are legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with governmental institutions. Disability organizations are often consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Such consultations occur at the national level. According to the Government, consultations occur also at the regional and local levels. No support is given by the government to existing or new organizations of persons with disabilities. The government states giving financial support to organizations of disabled people. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in government. The role of disabled persons organizations is to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, contribute to public awareness and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Health and Social Affairs, Employment, Education, and from organizations of persons with disabilities. According to the Government, the committee also includes representatives from other NGOs, from the private sector and from the organizations of employers and workers. The government expects the co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development but not to perform other tasks. It is to early for an assessment of the effects of the establishment of the co-ordinating committe. According to the Government, the committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination, legislation, integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, more accurate planning, more effective use of resources and promotion of public awareness.
The adoption of the Standard Rules has not led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy. According to the Governmen, the adoption of the Rules has led to such a rethinking, particularly in the field of legislation and implementation of national policy and measures, as well as in rendering appropriate services.
Contents of the ILSMH Report | Compare with the following Country Report(s): the Cypriot Government, ILSMH (Cyprus Parents Association for Mentally Disabled Persons)