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21M International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - Statement of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano [editar]

An urgent call to create the Independent Authority for Equal Treatment in Spain


21M International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - Statement of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Without protection mechanisms, the Spanish law for equal treatment and non-discrimination does not reach the victims of racism and antigypsyism

On the occasion of 21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) would like to call on the Spanish Government to establish, as soon as possible, the Independent Authority for Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination, as ordered by the Comprehensive Law for Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination approved in July 2022.

This important and necessary law was welcomed by FSG and many other civil society organisations, as it filled a legal gap in tackling racism and antigypsyism by establishing an administrative sanctioning system to combat many discriminatory incidents that, although not a crime, are part of Roma people's lives.

This year, FSG is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first publication of the annual Discrimination and Roma Community reports, having registered and attended to almost 5 000 discriminatory incidents over the years. This entails a big impact, not only on a personal level due to the discrimination suffered and the violation of the right to equal treatment, but also on an emotional level, as these people do not receive adequate redress from the institutions and bodies with responsibility in this area.

Despite the fact that almost two years have passed since the approval of the Law, FSG regrets that the Independent Authority it envisages, which should have been created within 6 months of its entry into force, has still not been set up. In order to fulfil this purpose, the Authority was given powers, among others, to assist victims, investigate, mediate, take legal action or issue opinions urging the competent administrations to impose sanctions. Without this body, as we have seen in our work to assist victims of racism and antigypsyism, the Law for Equal Treatment cannot be applied effectively in most cases, remaining a dead letter for many victims.

For this reason, and as we have requested in the framework of the Alliance for the Equal Treatment Law, we urge the Spanish Government to create this body as soon as possible. In this regard, we recall that European standards (Directive 2000/43/EC, proposals for Directives currently being drafted on equality bodies and ECRI Recommendation No. 2 on equality bodies) point precisely to the importance of the independence of this type of body, and the need for it to have sufficient staffing, funding and resources.

Several reports by international bodies have pointed out this shortcoming to Spain, particularly in the area of independence. ECRI itself, in its 5th cycle of monitoring of Spain, mentioned this issue (points 23 to 27).  Likewise, the Concluding Observations on the 21st to 23rd periodic reports of Spain by CERD, in their point 8, also insist on the necessary independence of this type of equality body, something that would be achieved with the aforementioned appointment of this Authority.

We therefore call on the Spanish Government to continue its commitment to the fight against racial discrimination, including antigypsyism, and to take the necessary measures for a real and effective implementation of the Law for Equal Treatment, including the establishment of the independent Authority.

Context of the International Day against Racism

76 years ago, for the first time, the international community agreed on a set of common values and recognised that rights are inherent to every human being and are not granted by the State. These rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a model for international human rights law. The Declaration states that everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, among others. However, racism and racial discrimination continue to affect people all over the world. In the case of the Roma people, we continue to see that antigypsyism is a reality that continues to affect the fundamental rights of Roma people throughout Europe, including Spain, as shown by the recent EU Eurobarometer on Discrimination, and the latest online Hate Speech Monitoring Cycle carried out by the European Commission.


In the framework of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2024, the UN is developing a week of wolidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination, from 21 to 27 March. The Roma people are undoubtedly a clear example of a people involved in the fight against racial discrimination.