Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
Download 'Government Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (440 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (26 March 1996)
Compare with the following Country Report(s): ILSMH (Cyprus Parents Association for Mentally Disabled Persons), ILSMH (Christos Steliou Ioannou Foundations)
The officially recognized disability policy in Cyprus is expressed in guidelines adopted by the Government and in guidelines adopted a National Disability Council. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: prevention, individual support, rehabilitation, accessibility measures, anti-discrimination law.
The following actions have been taken by the Government in order to initiate and support information campaigns conveying the message of full participation: Relevant celebrations during the International Day of Disabled; Press Conferences by the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance; Use of mass media; Seminars (All in collaboration with the organizations of the disabled).
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The judicial mechanisms available for the protection of their rights include: due process (legal remedy through courts). Non-judicial mechanisms include: an Ombudsman, a Government body (administrative) and monitoring bodies (i.e. committees for the protection of the rights of people with a mental handicap).
The general legislation applies to all categories of disabled persons with respect to: employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, access to court-of-law, right to privacy. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security.
After the adoption of the Standard Rules no new legislation concerning disability has been enacted. However, a new general legislation is under preparation.
There are laws and regulation to ensure accessibility in the build environment requiring that public places and the outdoor environment are made accessible. Accessibility in the build environment is observed by a national authority and local Governments. The following measures have been promoted to facilitate accessibility in the build environment: marking parking areas, installing or widening lifts and installing accessible toilets, access to public places. Special transport arrangements for disabled persons are available for medical treatment, education and for attending Day Care Centres and similar activities. The most difficult obstacles when planning to build accessible environments are: attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, lack of co-operation from other organizations/institutions, lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is a disability awareness component in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status, it is neither used as the first language in education of deaf people nor recognized as the main means of communication between deaf people and others. There are Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their servicesavailable, such as financing of sign language for the news bulletins in TV stations. The following services are provided to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, and sign language interpretation, available only for major events.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
All known organizations of disabled people are represented under the umbrella organization. There are no legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making or to work with Governmental institutions. Disability organizations are always consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. This occurs at both national, regional and local level. Financial support is given to organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government, judiciary, and political parties, to some extent in legislature and to a great extent in NGOs. In Cyprus the disabled persons' organizations have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance who is the President of the Disabled Rehabilitation Council. The committee includes representatives of several Ministries, of organizations of persons with disabilities, of other NGOs, from the private sector and from organizations of employers and workers. The Government expects the committee to participate in policy development nor to perform other tasks. The establishment of the national co-ordinating 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 led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy, particularly in the field of legislation, formulation and implementation of national policy and measures, as well as in rendering appropriate services.
Contents of the UN Report | Compare with the following Country Report(s): ILSMH (Cyprus Parents Association for Mentally Disabled Persons), ILSMH (Christos Steliou Ioannou Foundations)