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The Fundación Secretariado Gitano condemns the continued existence of settlements in Spain with its new campaign [editar]

The campaign was launched on 20 October


The Fundación Secretariado Gitano condemns the continued existence of settlements in Spain with its new campaign is a campaign of condemnation by the Fundación Secretariado Gitano. Imitating a property website, using ironic advertisements as a hook on digital media and social networks, the campaign deplores the fact that thousands of people still live in slums in Spain and calls for a National Plan for the Eradication of Settlements.

The Campaign is a campaign to highlight and condemn the existence of settlements. It aims to mobilise society in general against this shameful situation, to persuade the public authorities of the urgent need to eradicate slums and guarantee the right to decent housing.

The campaign aims to create a social impact based on its political demand, without resorting to victimhood, but simply portraying reality in order to condemn it. It includes a series of adverts on digital media and social networks directing people to a new website. The adverts have an ironic tone, with messages such as: “The house you’ve dreamed of, 15 minutes from the centre”, alongside a photograph of a slum dwelling.

The web page provides data and information about settlements in Spain. It also presents interviews which go into detail about the effects of slum living on people’s lives, various elements to be shared on social networks and a manifesto to be supported with signatures, calling for a National Action Plan for the Eradication of Settlements. The campaign also includes posters, videos and an introductory leaflet.

Settlements violate the right to decent housing and perpetuate situations of poverty, segregation and discrimination.

Although the existence of settlements might be thought to be a residual problem, it is in fact a structural issue, discriminatory and prolonged in time, which must be eradicated as a matter of social justice and human rights. The existence of settlements is not only a clear violation of the right to housing; it also leads to situations of poverty and exclusion becoming chronic, and limits any opportunities for social advancement for slum inhabitants. According to data from the Study-Map on Housing and the Roma population of 2015, there are still around 270 settlements in Spain.

Although we do not know the exact number of people living in settlements, we do know that the Roma population of Spain is one of the social groups most likely to inhabit them, along with other groups such as migrants and seasonal workers. There are still around 2,000 Roma families, comprising more than 11,000 people, who live in settlements, a large number of these people being children. Living in a settlement represents child poverty in its most extreme form.

Despite data showing progress in the past few decades (a reduction from 10% of the Roma population living in slums in 1991, to 2,17% in 2015), in recent years this progress has slowed. Spain, with the fourth-largest economy in Europe, cannot allow these spaces of marginalisation and segregation to persist, with families packed together, suffering severe exclusion and discrimination, and poverty passing down from one generation to the next, condemning future generations to the same situation.

“Can slums be eradicated?”

“Can slums be eradicated?” is the question posed by the campaign, and the answer is that “They can be and must be”. Fundación Secretariado Gitano believes that right now there exist adequate political frameworks and funding opportunities for slum living to be brought to an end, but that these are not being exploited. It is a question of political will.

Sara Giménez, president of the FSG, points out that “there are initiatives within national and European Union funding frameworks which include action against settlements” and continues by saying that “political will is vital to ensure that national, regional and local public authorities commit to eradicating slums. Making use of existing funds is an opportunity for sustained investment in the most vulnerable and segregated neighbourhoods, so that in 2030 we can reach the goal of Zero Slums in our country. National, regional and local authorities commit to eradicating settlements. Taking advantage of existing funding, particularly European funding, is an opportunity for sustained investment in the most vulnerable and segregated neighbourhoods”

The Spanish Congress is currently creating a National Law on the Right to Housing, a process during which the FSG has made submissions to ensure that there is a clear legislative mandate for the eradication of slums, to be made operative through a National Plan for the eradication of settlements. The European context is also favourable. The eradication of slums fits within the plans set out in the EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation 2021-2030, now supported by the recent approval of a European Parliament Resolution which urges the Commission to launch a European Action Plan for the eradication of Roma settlements.

The Campaign is financed by the programmes ‘0.7% for Solidarity’ and ‘Other social purposes’, the Ministry for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda and co-funding from the European Social Fund.

Foto de grupo en el acto de presentación de la campaña
Foto de grupo en el acto de presentación de la campaña

Dissemination activities for the campaign

After the launch of the campaign came a dissemination phase aimed at achieving impact on various audiences. This involved activities such as the purchase of advertising space on online media through programmatic advertising, and investment in social networks (Facebook and Instagram). This helped the campaign to achieve more than 9 million views in its first three weeks and more than 55,000 visitors to the site.

Between 29 November and 5 December, the campaign was displayed on street furniture across Madrid, with its messages exhibited on more than 90 newsstands in the city’s central zone within the M-30 ring road.

The impact in communications media is also proving significant, with news ítems and reports appearing in outlets such as El País (which devoted a news item to the campaign on launch day and later an editorial piece, along with its Planeta Futuro section) and the programme A vivir on Cadena SER, and achieving impact in many other national and local media [see Links]. 

The dissemination of the campaign will continue throughout 2022, and national and international dissemination will continue in 2023.

Finally, in the last quarter of 2022, the FSG held a Cycle of Seminars on Political and financial instruments for the eradication of settlements in eight regions of Spain (link in Spanish), to boost the implementation of plans and actions aimed at eradicating slums at a moment when sufficient funding opportunities exist to achieve it.

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