0921 GMT February 25, 2020
Philip Alston, the special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, began his fact-finding mission in Madrid on Monday before traveling to Galicia, the Basque country, Extremadura, Andalucía and Catalonia, the Guardian reported.
Alston said he would be looking into how Spain’s social protection system works for those in poverty and examining areas such as housing, education and health care.
“I think there’s no shortage of statistical indicators to suggest that Spain has significant problems in terms of its less well-off population,” he said.
“Anyone who reads reports will know that there’s something of a housing crisis in Spain. I think there are pretty serious issues about the level of unemployment in general — but particularly for youth and also for women. I’ll certainly be dealing with groups like children, people with disabilities, migrants and others, but I don’t think it’ll be confined to those more specialized areas.”
According to figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute, 26.1 percent of the population lives at risk of poverty or social exclusion — up from 24.7 percent in 2008 when the financial crisis hit the country — while its unemployment rate of 14.1 percent is more than double the EU average.
About half the population has some difficulty making ends meet, and poverty is persistently higher for children, migrants, and Roma populations.