December 5, 2016

Statement by Ms. Monica Pachoumi, Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 15 June 2016

9th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “Implementing the Agenda 2030 for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind”

United Nations, 15 June 2016

Thank you Mr. President.

Cyprus aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.

Cyprus has made significant progress since ratifying the CRPD in 2011 and continues to do so. 

Our responsible authority, the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, together with a network of 80 Contact Points at co-responsible authorities, is in charge of implementing the ministry’s 2016-2018 strategic plan on disabilities. The plan focuses on the areas of assessments and certifications of disability and functioning, provision of social benefits, provision of vocational rehabilitation and other support services, and coordination of the effective implementation of the UN CRPD and the National Disability Action Plan.

Our policies are guided by meaningful consultations with the civil society, as this is also required by our legislation. Furthermore, our responsible authorities cooperate with the Human Rights Commissioner, an independent expert safeguarding respect of human rights in Cyprus.

Important planned activities for the next years include launching two new centres for the Assessment of Disability and Functioning, the creation of a national database on disability and cooperation with the Academia, in particular the University of Cyprus, on research projects. It also includes participation in the European Union programme of the European disability card, which will allow the cardholders to be recognized as persons with disabilities when they travel in other EU member states and also enjoy cultural, sports, transportation and leisure benefits.

Mr. President,

Promoting independent living and de-institutionalization requires great efforts and perhaps most significantly, changes in perceptions. Cyprus, after a number of actions, has managed to de-institutionalize 8 persons with severe mental disabilities in April 2016 and eventually terminate the operation of a mental disability institution that did not conform to modern standards. These 8 persons have now been welcomed to a modern rehabilitation programme, aimed at improving their abilities and quality of life, which provides, inter alia, care services, education, entertainment and social activities.

As we move forward to implementing agenda 2030, let me assure you that Cyprus will do its utmost in order to promote the rights of persons with disabilities both internationally and at home.

I thank you.