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Antigypsyism in figures[editar]

As we have been documenting for 18 years in our annual reports "Discrimination and the Roma Community", Roma people continue to suffer discrimination when accessing employment, housing, education, goods and services, police identification checks based on ethnic origin, stigmatisation in the media and hate speech on social networks. Moreover, in some cases, this rejection takes a violent form and translates into extreme hate crimes, i.e. attacks or aggressions in which the main motivation is the antigypsyism of the aggressor.

However, the over 3,000 cases we have dealt with and documented over these years -after confirming the discriminatory nature of the incidents reported by Roma people- are only the tip of the iceberg of a widespread structural situation. Indeed, although the social image of the Roma community has improved significantly among the general Spanish population -as reflected in the Special Eurobarometer on Discrimination in Europe published in 2019, where Spanish society showed less antigypsyism stereotypes and prejudices than other European countries- the fact is that there is still a long way to go for the Roma community to be able to exercise their rights on equal terms and without any kind of discrimination.

The results of the Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II), published in 2017, show conclusive data:

  • 51% of Roma people surveyed in Spain said they had suffered discrimination in the last 5 years (compared to the average of 41% in the 9 countries covered by the study) and
  • 35% said they had suffered discrimination in the last year (compared to 26% of the European total), which shows the frequency of discrimination against the Roma community.
In terms of areas, the Spanish Roma community reported having suffered the most discrimination in the search for employment, housing and access to other public services. Despite this, only 5% of the Spanish participants reported having submitted a complaint (compared to 12% of all respondents in European countries), which shows that there is a significant under-reporting of discrimination.

The latest “Study on discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin: the perception of potential victims” published in 2020 by the Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination (CEDRE) (under the Ministry of Equality) shows that, of all the population groups surveyed, Roma are one of those who claim to have suffered the highest levels of discrimination (43% claim to have suffered a discriminatory incident in the last 12 months), including forms of intersectional discrimination that specifically affect Roma women. In terms of areas, the Roma community reports the highest rates of discrimination regarding access to housing (31%), rejection by the neighbourhood (8%), access to public facilities or spaces, and access to goods and services (31%), as well as access to employment (30%). Like the EU-MIDIS survey, this study provides alarming data on the high rates of under-reporting within the Roma community: of all Roma who said they had experienced discrimination in the last 12 months, only 11.5% said they had submitted a complaint, claim or report, compared to 18.2% of all the groups surveyed.

All these situations take place in a context where antigypsyism hate speech is increasing and spreading through social networks. Indeed, in the latest monitoring cycle carried out by the EU Commission -in collaboration with reliable sources- to assess the implementation of the Code of Conduct to combat illegal hate speech online, antigypsyism (12.5% of the total number of messages) is the third most reported hate reason out of the total number of reported messages, after sexual orientation (18.2%) and xenophobia (18%).

Moreover, a new social, political and health scenario has arisen in recent years as a result of the COVID crisis. In this pandemic context, we have seen the emergence of certain discourses, messages and rumours linking the Roma community to the spread of the virus, messages that have greatly damaged the image of this group. Indeed, the Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination had to issue a recommendation to mitigate the effects of these messages (link in Spanish). In 2021, the FSG itself carried out a study on this situation, where it noted the strong personal and collective impact that these cases of pandemic-related hostility are having.

In 2015, the CEDAW Committee published its concluding observations on the situation of Roma women at the end of its review of Spain's implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee contemplates the situation of inequality that affects women belonging to vulnerable groups, making a series of specific recommendations to ensure equal rights and opportunities for Roma women.