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21st March. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2021 [editar]

Statement-Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Fundación Secretariado Gitano

21st March. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2021Once again, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano celebrates the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a United Nations initiative which has taken place every 21st March since 1966. For this year 2021, the selected theme is “Youth standing up against racism".

Last year, our society and the entire world showed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, denouncing racial violence. At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we wish to take the opportunity offered by this highly significant day to call upon all of society, particularly young people, along with the public authorities, to continue sharing their sense of solidarity and social justice with Roma people who are victims of antigypsyism.

It is important to underline the fact that antigypsyism is one of the most widespread forms of racism in Spain and Europe. The Annual Report on Discrimination and the Roma Community 2020[1] provides continued evidence that the negative social image of the Roma community is one of the main reasons for the social rejection they face. The situation has been aggravated by the current context of crisis we are living in and, unfortunately, Roma people continue to face situations of antigypsysism. In these situations, gender often intersects with other factors of social exclusion which are directly connected to the structural discrimination suffered by the Roma community, such as poverty, unemployment and residential segregation. 

The available statistics also demonstrate the scale of antigypsyism in our country. According to the FRA – the EU´s Fundamental Rights Agency[2], 41% of Roma people surveyed have felt themselves discriminated against at least once in the last 5 years. Furthermore, the Eurobarometer report on discrimination in the EU in 2019[3] states that only 50% of non-Roma Spanish people would feel comfortable if their child had a Roma child as a classmate (the EU average is 39%). Similarly, a recent Report on Perceptions of discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin[4], published by the Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination, indicates that of all minorities, the Roma population is the one for which negative adjectives are most often used to describe the image it has for the non-Roma Spanish population (89%).

Behind these figures there are real-life stories of people who have seen their dignity and their rights violated due simply to the fact that they are Roma. At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we are aware of the importance of making visible these discriminatory situations and their impact on Roma people. Since 2005 we have therefore been documenting in our annual reports the cases of discrimination for which we provide support and take legal action, so that these stories will not be forgotten. Today, on this important day, we are launching the web page which is dedicated to these cases. The web page offers the possibility of statistical exploration and of accessing information by year, province and area of discrimination for the nearly 3,000 cases of discrimination and antigypsyism documented in our reports (all of which you can also download in Spanish or English).

We are facing a historic moment, and the time is ripe for the fight against discrimination and antigypsyism, with the creation in Spain of a Draft Integrated Law for Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination[5], the approval of the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025[6] and the approval of the new EU Framework for Equality for Roma people for 2020-2030, which is very ambitious in terms of its fight against discrimination and antigypsyism[7].     

In this context, we call on the Spanish authorities to take all possible measures to ensure that these laws and policies are properly applied, focusing on the fight against antigypsyism as a specific form of racism with historic roots which still affects many Roma people today. We need Roma victims to feel protected, and for their reports of rights violations to receive an effective response from public institutions so that they can defend their rights and exercise their citizenship, ensuring that equal treatment becomes a reality for all men and women.

#LuchemosContraElAntigitanismo  (#FightRacism)



[2] Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey: Roma – Selected findings, available at: