May 26, 2017

Statement the Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Menelaos Menelaou – Rights of Persons with Disabilities

8th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

New York, 10 June 2015

Thank you Mr President.

Cyprus aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the representative of the European Union.

Cyprus ratified the Convention in 2011 and submitted its first report on its implementation in 2013. Currently, various policies are being developed by the focal point, the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, following consultations with relevant stakeholders, including the civil society. I would like to stress that consultation with organisations of persons with disabilities is not only an institution by practice in Cyprus but also a legal obligation, according to a national law of 2006.

In the area of education, we work to facilitate the smooth transition of persons with disabilities from education to employment, while we are currently in the process of upgrading prevocational programs and of developing an institutional framework for early intervention services for children from 0-6 years.

As regards employment, financial assistance is provided to persons with disabilities for creating small/medium enterprises, while organisations of persons with disabilities are subsidized for operating supported employment programs through a job coach. We aim to extend this support program to the rural areas for the period 2014-2020. We are also in the process of modernizing and upgrading the sector for vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities.

Furthermore, we promote the recruitment of persons with disabilities in the wider public sector, in accordance with a national law of 2006 which provides for 10% of current vacancies to be filled by persons with disabilities. Accessibility is also crucial. A research on accessibility in public buildings is to be completed soon, while we work for providing accessible information and communication technologies through the National Digital Strategy.

However, challenges still remain. Despite measures taken to facilitate access of persons with disabilities to health services, there is still much to be done regarding rehabilitation. We aim to incorporate a comprehensive rehabilitation policy in the National Health System currently being developed in Cyprus. Additionally, a lot remains to be done regarding the provision of adequate support and services for persons with severe disabilities.

 Finally, I wish to inform you that Cyprus has developed in 2013 a new System for the Assessment of Disability and Functioning, based on the WHO International Classification. In the framework of expanding the new System, an electronic database will be developed, which will provide reliable information to public services on the situation of persons with disabilities, while National Disability Cards will be issued. We are confident that this is a significant step in safeguarding the rights of persons with disabilities and will provide in a less time consuming manner, access of persons with disabilities to, among others, employment and social protection programmes.

Thank you Mr. President.