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Universal Periodic Review to Spain 2020: an opportunity to advance the enjoyment of human rights by Roma people [editar]

22/01/2020
FSG - Subdirección de Incidencia y Defensa de Derechos

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Universal Periodic Review to Spain 2020: an opportunity to advance the enjoyment of human rights by Roma people
  • Today Spain is examinated for the third time at the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, where progress, setbacks and areas for improvement since the last review, carried out in 2015, will be analyzed.
  • The Fundación Secretariado Gitano has participated in this process, directly as an entity and through different networks and platforms, to put on the table the advances, but also the gaps that still today exist to obtain the effective enjoyment of all human rights by part of the Roma community.

In the case of Spain, this is the third time that this mechanism is submitted. On this occasion we will have to account the progress made and the degree of compliance with the recommendations made by other States and accepted on the occasion of the last Universal Periodic Review, which will be carried out in 2015. In addition, they must have new questions and recommendations of the States participating in the process.

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano, as an organization of civil society involved in the work in favor of human rights and their effective enjoyment by the Roma community, has been very active in this process, both individually and contributing to the Reports presented as a member entity of the DESC Platform and the Children's Platform.

Thus, and as part of the increasingly intense organization's work with international institutions, it has contributed both to the Report made by the Spanish Government and to the UN Human Rights Council itself. The organization also had the opportunity to participate in the previous sessions of the UPR that took place in December last year, and in this way transfer the main institutional advances to other States, as well as the problems that prevent access by Roma people to human rights.

One of the issues on which the FSG has insisted most in this process is the need to pass a Comprehensive Law on equal treatment and fight against discrimination that constitutes a broad legal framework that protects all victims of discrimination for any reason , without prejudice to a subsequent subsequent sectorial legislative development. This rule would allow to respond to many discriminatory behaviors that do not fit into current legislation and could lead to the creation of an independent Agency for Equal treatment with necessary resources.

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano has also referred to the problem of poverty and social exclusion: according to a recent FSG report, more than 80% of the total Roma population is in poverty and 46% is extremely poor . On the other hand, the rate of child poverty of the Roma population is 89% compared to 30.7% in the general population. In this sense, the FSG calls on the Spanish authorities to advance comprehensive and specific public policies for the reduction of poverty and child poverty, as well as the eradication of the high incidence of extreme poverty and child poverty in the Roma population.

Regarding access to education by Roma students, the FSG, despite recognizing the improvement in data compared to previous years, has highlighted the fact that only 17% of the Roma population over 16 years have full studies of Secondary Education level or higher, compared to almost 80% of the general population, and 6 out of every 10 Roma children do not finish Secondary Education level. For all these reasons, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano expects this process to serve the authorities to develop a plan against the school failure of Roma students, establish measures to prevent and eradicate school segregation that affects Roma and migrant students and promote public policies that promote inclusion and recognize the value of diversity, such as inclusion in the school curriculum of the history and culture of the Roma people.

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano also has a prominent position in the (and documented) gap between the Roma population and the population as a whole in the access to the labor market, the gender gap being especially noticeable: there is an unemployment rate that reaches 52% (representing more than 3 times than general population, 14.5%), and Roma women suffer evidence of intersectional discrimination, with an employment rate that only reaches 16%. For all this, a call is made to the training and support programs for employment with a gender focus and adapted to the Roma population, specific measures for young people, as well as implementation measures to combat discrimination against Roma people in tthe labor market.

Finally, in terms of housing, although there has been an obvious improvement, the FSG has referred to 8.6% of the Roma population still living in substandard housing, and 2.17% (more than 2,000 Roma families) in shacks. It has also been discussed in cases of discrimination against people who are detecting access to housing for purchase or rent. Therefore, install the Spanish authorities to take measures to prevent and prosecute cases of discrimination in access to housing and approve action plans for the erradication of shanty towns and substandard-housing.

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