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Spain looks to bring gypsies into community

Sun 3rd Oct 2010

Spain had been looking to positive policies like promoting the education of gypsy children to narrow the gap between the gypsies and the rest of the population, a lobbyist said.

Belen Sanchez-Rubio, director of international programs with the Fundacion Secretariado Gitano (FSG), a pressure group aimed at developing the gypsy community throughout Spain, said events of violence against the Roma people, often referred to as gypsies, were not widespread in Spain.

The FSG last week launched a nationwide campaign to promote education of gypsy children, calling for them to complete secondary education.

Currently only two out of 10 Spanish gypsies complete their education.

The campaign was a reflection of the way Spain looked at the gypsy issue, Sanchez-Rubio said.

"It has to do with focusing on social policies at national, local and regional levels" she said.

"There is a political commitment regardless of the party that is in power. It acknowledges that the Roma are the biggest Spanish minority and seeing that there is a big gap between their conditions and the conditions of the rest of the population, recognizes that something has to be done" she said.

The Roma people have been the subject of controversy recently in neighboring France, which has mounted a campaign to deport them since July, citing security reasons following public order incidents involving Roma. The move has been criticized by the European Commission, which said France had not done a good job protecting ethnic groups.

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