[editar plantilla]

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano accompanies the UN Rapporteur for extreme poverty in his visits to the Polígono Sur in Seville and the Cañada Real in Madrid [editar]

Special Rapporteur Philip Alston wanted to know how extreme poverty affects the Roma population in Spain


The Fundación Secretariado Gitano accompanies the UN Rapporteur for extreme poverty in his visits to the Polígono Sur in Seville and the Cañada Real in MadridRapporteur Philip Alston wanted to know firsthand how extreme poverty affects the Roma population in Spain, whose data is alarming: almost half (46%) of Roma people live in extreme poverty.

The UN Special Rapporteur for extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, is conducting a research visit to Spain from January 27 to February 7 to analyze poverty in our country. The visit includes Madrid, Galicia, the Basque Country, Extremadura, Andalusia and Catalonia, where he is meeting with representatives of the administrations, people affected by poverty, activists, experts and representatives of civil society organizations. Subsequently, it will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council in June.

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano has accompanied the Rapporteur and his team in the visit to two particularly significant neighborhoods in regards to the persistence of extreme poverty in our country and which affects Roma families in a very high percentage: the Poligono Sur in Seville and the Cañada Real Galiana in Madrid.

Visita a La Cañada Real (Madrid)

On Sunday, February 2, the Rapporteur and his team traveled to the Cañada Real in Madrid accompanied by a delegation from the Fundación Secretariado Gitano with representatives of the state leadership, the territorial management and the team involved in La Cañada.

It is one of the most complex, stigmatized and vulnerable territories of the Community of Madrid, with serious problems of lack of basic services (water, electricity, public transport, garbage collection ...), health, cultural, educational and housing (slums, shanty towns), especially in the area known as Sector 6.

During the visit, the Rapporteur and his team were able to meet several Roma families who have lived in the Canada for decades, who told them about the constant problems of dirt, rats, power outages, lack of public services or social rejection suffered by diary.

The territorial director of the FSG in Madrid, Rocío García, commented that “although the Regional Agreement for La Cañada Real is underway and is the main instrument for a solution, at the rate of work and relocation, it would take around 40 or 50 years to complete it ”.

The FSG also transferred to the Rapporteur the recent case that has led to “strategic litigation” in support of a Roma family and for which a firm ruling was obtained from the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid giving the FSG reason for the violation of their rights, recognizing the violation of the fundamental right to privacy and inviolability of the domicile. After two years the situation in which this family lives is extremely vulnerable "so we insist on the need to increase in means and speed in responding to families with greater precariousness" according to Rocío García.

Visita al Polígono Sur (Sevilla)

The visit to the Polígono Sur in Seville took place on January 31. It is a neighborhood with a high concentration of Roma population in a situation of social vulnerability. The team of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano in Seville, headed by the Territorial Director in Andalusia, Juan Reyes, accompanied the Rapporteur visiting a children's and primary education center in the neighborhood and held a meeting with the Director to learn about the situation of a school in a place with a high concentration of Roma students.

This center is another case of a segregated school, a reality that exists in most Spanish cities. “In this school there is practically 100% Roma students. School segregation limits any possibility of future development of Roma students, it is a barrier that prevents equal opportunities and perpetuates the situation of extreme poverty of Roma people, ”said Juan Reyes.

Next, the Rapporteur, together with the delegation that accompanied him, wanted to know the neighborhood and its surroundings. He has been interested in urban development, the state of housing, public areas and leisure spaces, as well as the plans planned for the revitalization of the area. Finally, the Rapporteur showed his interest in personally meeting families in the neighborhood and having a space to talk directly with them.

For Juan Reyes, “the situation of Roma families in the Poligono Sur is not representative of the whole of the Roma population, and so we have transferred it to the Rapporteur, but it is a reality that exists and must be addressed urgently because it implies violation of the most fundamental rights and unworthiness: extreme poverty, marginalization and segregation. ”

Población gitana y pobreza

From the Fundación Secretariado Gitano we share with the SR the data of the recent Comparative Study on the situation of the Roma population in Spain in relation to employment and poverty 2018, published in 2019,  which shows that more than 80% of the Roma population lives at risk of social exclusion (46% being extremely poor).

The child poverty rate, according to this report, stands at 89%; and the unemployment rate of the Roma population is 52%. Another alarming fact that this study reflects is the educational level: only 17% of the Roma population over 16 have completed secondary education studies or higher.