The Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights watchdog, has warned Spain its austerity programme could have a devastating impact on children. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24457562 Child poverty reached 30% in 2011 and cuts in welfare, health and education have left some children homeless and malnourished, its report said.
Disabled people also face poverty and increasing marginalisation as state help is withdrawn, the Council found.
Spain has been carrying out painful austerity measures since it was hit hard in the 2008-9 global economic crisis, when its once-booming property sector collapsed.
The jobless rate stood at 26.3% in the second quarter of this year, down from a record 27.2% in the first quarter.
The growing child poverty rate… has a potentially devastating long-term impact on children and the country,” he said in his report, published on Wednesday.
“Children have been disproportionately affected by cuts in social, health and educational budgets and shrinking family benefits have led some children to experience destitution and nutrition problems.” said commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks.
“Spain has witnessed an unprecedented wave of evictions for non-repayment of mortgage loans, following the bursting of the ‘property bubble’,” he said.
“Evictions have often led to the social exclusion of the evicted persons, including children, given that evicted families sometimes refrain from requesting assistance from social services for fear of being deprived of the custody of their children.”
He also urged Spain to address concerns about police brutality and the perceived impunity with which its law enforcement agencies operated.