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Spain urged to create equality watchdog to tackle racism against Roma and refugees

Spanish authorities are being urged to do more to prevent segregation and early school drop-out among Roma children. Photo: AFP

Spain has been told to create an independent equality body to adopt anti-discrimination legislation and improve integration and education of Roma and migrant children.

The Council of Europe Anti-racism Commission (ECRI) urged Spanish authorities to combat segregation and early school drop-out among Roma children and to do more to help migrants find work and escape poverty.

Although praising Spain’s efforts in promoting equality for its gay community, the ECRI said the implementation of anti-racism strategy had slowed down in recent years and needs to be updated and extended.

In a report published Tuesday it also highlighted that prejudice exists in particular against Muslims, Roma and LGBT people and that many cases of hate speech or hate crime are not reported to the police.

Spain and the tiny-state of San Marino are the only members of the 47-strong Council that have not established a specific ombudsman to tackle equality and racism.

“Spain should establish a strong independent equality body to promote equality and prevent discrimination”, said Jean-Paul Lehners, ECRI Chairperson.

“Also, substantial investment is needed in the field of education to ensure that Roma children, but also children originating from outside the EU complete at least compulsory education; Spain should avoid the emergence of a new generation of excluded minority children”, he added.

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