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Ending Statelessness, critical to eradicating poverty

October 17 was officially established as the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” in 1992 by the United Nations. It was first brought forward when 100 000 people joined together at the Human Rights and Liberties Plaza, at the Trocadero in Paris, 1987, to acknowledge victims of poverty, hunger, violence and fear.

33 years later, there are still more than 1.3 billion people in the world living in poverty, half of whom are minors.

A research study by the United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research warns that the global pandemic could increase those living in poverty by an additional 500 million people. This aggregates to more than 8 % of the total world population.

If we reflect on the consequences of the Covid19, a research published by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research warns that the global pandemic could increase poverty around the world to affect an additional 500 million people, which means 8% more of the world's total population.

Poverty goes beyond the lack of economic income. It is a human rights problem that encompasses economic, social and culture dimensions. This directly impacts their basic human needs: education, housing and medical services. In Spain, one in five people live below the poverty line. Out of 28 EU countries it ranks as seventh highest country in terms of poverty and social exclusion.

We have to ask ourselves; how does this data impact people who have migrated and now reside in Spain? And in Melilla? What are the consequences of social exclusion and poverty for a newcomer? What effects does rejection of those in poverty have on people in transit and living in border towns? What thoughts arise amongst those living here as stateless for a few months, or even years who are not given the same privileges as EU citizens? Questions continue to arise but answers are far and few in-between.

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty we want to reflect on the bureaucratic, linguistic and digital obstacles that exist in Spain. Consequently, those that are described as undocumented or illegal in Spain live in a permanent state of poverty, often in inhumane conditions. If you are one of the lucky few, these living conditions will persist for a minimum of 3 years (the legal time period to be able to apply for a residence and work authorization through a permit known as “Social Roots”, needless to say meeting excessive requirements.) More often than not, it may take several years and tedious administrative procedures to obtain a residence and work authorisation.

In addition to all these obstacles immigrants have to face every day is their fight against aporophobia; the rejection and even hatred towards the poor and the helpless. Hostility that is exclusively based on your lack of resources, rather than where you are from. Let us not forget the image of joy this summer when the first tourists (who are immigrants, but with money) arrived in the Balearic Islands and were applauded by the hotel workers. If we recognise that people can be of a different race, religion or culture; surely racism could be added to the definition of aporophobia.

In recent months, several organizations and entities throughout the country presented a non-law proposal to demand that all people living in the Spanish state have equal opportunities, rights and privileges. However, it was dismissed in Congress.

On a day like today we invite all our readers to reflect upon their own thoughts and actions. Above all consider the opportunities that we have had, currently have and will have simply because of where we were born.

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