Posted 10 months ago on Oct. 9, 2013, 10:43 a.m. EST by mideast
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American sequester + shutdown = Spanish austerity
The Council of Europe, the continent's main human rights watchdog, has warned Spain its austerity programme could have a devastating impact on children.
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Disabled people also face poverty and increasing marginalisation as state help is withdrawn, the Council found.
But Spain's government said investment in education for all had risen.
Defending its commitment to human rights, it said that subsidies for disabled people had also risen.
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.
In rare good news, the International Monetary Fund said this week it expected Spain and other southern eurozone states to exit recession and start growing economically from next year.
The Council of Europe (CoE), which is based in Strasbourg and has 47 member-states ranging from the EU to Russia, sent its commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, on a visit to Madrid and Seville in June. Mr Muiznieks met government officials as well as non-governmental organisations to assess the impact of the economic crisis on the country's children and disabled people. "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."
He singled out house evictions as an issue of concern for their impact on children. "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."