For the 7th year running, the Fundación Secretriado Gitano (FSG) presents its Report on Discrimination and the Roma community with a slightly renewed image to lead our ongoing work which has been strengthened and boosted by its association with the Council for the Promotion of equal treatment and non-discrimination, the Network of Assistance Centres for victims of discrimination and its participation in other related collaboration platforms, all allowing us to provide better information, service, training, awareness-raising, etc., and all targeting the elimination of the barrier of discrimination which continues to affect the Roma Community.
The FSG’s Area of Equality continues to develop a number of action areas, playing an active role in the fight against discrimination affecting this ethnic minority:
- Assistance action for victims of discrimination, an activity which has been strengthened since our 2010 joining of the Network of assistance centres for victims of discrimination, part of the Council for the Promotion of equal treatment and non-discrimination of persons for reasons of racial or ethnic origin.
- Technical assistance and training of key players in the fight against discrimination: mostly technical personnel and the heads of administrations and social organisations, jurists, police and the media.
- Promotion of policies supporting the advancement of equal treatment by monitoring anti-discrimination legislation and its everyday enforcement.
- Social awareness-raising actions through the dissemination of information relating to the fight against ethnic discrimination and the advancement of equal treatment and through campaigns such as the one under the slogan described further on in this Report conducted this year given the difficult situation facing the Roma ethnic minority in Europe.
The main section of this report is devoted to shedding light on the everyday discrimination still faced today by the Roma community in Spain. 115 cases featuring unequivocal evidence of discrimination in 2010 are described. The cases registered are presented by areas with disaggregated data so as to provide the greatest degree of information, including a description of some of the work strategies developed. Also, we have drafted the conclusions reached from our work assisting victims of discrimination and have made proposals to achieve greater effectiveness in the defence of people who fall victim to the regrettable act of discrimination.
This report then delves deeper into some key related issues with specialised articles such as discrimination in education, one of the main areas of focus if we expect this ethnic minority to progress, cyber-hatred as one of the worrisome phenomena in today’s society and an analysis of the Comprehensive Draft Law for Equality and Non-discrimination, a veritable legislative milestone which the FSG and the rest of the third sector have been and continue to work for because we feel that our country needs a comprehensive equality law guaranteeing non-discrimination for all citizens for reasons of age, sex, cultural origin, ethnic group, disability, etc. This Bill is now before Parliament and we trust that, despite the political climate characterising our country at this point in time, it will meet with general support and will finally be enacted to guarantee equality for all citizens.
The report again makes its customary reference to important advances achieved in 2010-2011 in Europe and Spain in the form of reports and case law in this sphere.
Lastly, we provide a summary of the affi rmative action measures implemented during the period; the work done by the Platform for Police Management of Diversity; different awareness heightening projects and implementation of equal treatment and anti-discrimination measures at local level; social awareness-raising campaigns, training and awarenessraising done by the FSG, recommendations made by the CERD1 to Spain and training carried out by the FRA2. All actions which we feel are of particular interest for all of the key players involved in the fight against discrimination.
Important headway has been made this year in this connection, particular mention being made of the work carried out by the Council for the Promotion of equal treatment and non-discrimination of persons for reasons of racial or ethnic origin, especially the constitution of the Network of Assistance Centres for Victims of Discrimination and the Comprehensive Draft Law for equal treatment and non-discrimination.
However, this year we have also witnessed regrettable situations. The economic crisis in Spain has sparked a lack of understanding leading to increased rejection and stigmatisation of the Roma community in different European countries including ours. This phenomenon has also been apparent in the discourse of some infl uential political figures who do not support the Spanish model of integration nor the constitution of a plural, diverse, tolerant society where democratic values prevail.
Therefore, at this time of difficulty, focus must be put on the human capital of our society and government administrations, the third sector and the society at large must all work hand in hand so that equality, one of our most fundamental principles, is not violated.
Once again, we would like to express our gratitude to all of the individuals and institutions who have collaborated in compiling this Report. Firstly to the workers of the FSG who, from their different work centres, were involved in the collection of and follow-up on the different cases and provided support to the victims of discrimination.
Secondly, to the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality which once again has provided the FSG with economic support for the actions we carry out in the promotion of equal treatment of the Roma community.
And lastly, we would like to express our appreciation for the collaboration offered by Fernando Rey, Constitutional Law Professor from the University of Valladolid and by Arancha Moretón, Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the same University, excellent professionals involved in promoting the principle of equality in our society.
Sara Giménez Giménez
Responsible for the Area Equality at the FSG