At an event organised by the Refugee Support Platform (PAR), Cláudia Pereira wanted to highlight the “challenges” arising from the latest data released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which indicate that in 2020 the number of refugees and internally displaced persons hit a new record and now stands at 82.4 million people.

“We are on a continent that receives 15 percent of refugees and therefore we have to be available to receive even more and better,” she stressed.

The event, called “Together We Welcome”, took place at the Faculty of Humanities of the Catholic University of Portugal and marked World Refugee Day, which was celebrated on 20 June.

The Secretary of State drew attention to UNHCR data that indicates that 42 percent of all displaced persons in the world are under the age of 18, as well as estimates that nearly one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020.

“It is up to the government to create structures that make the reception and integration process more fluid,” argued Cláudia Pereira, adding that municipalities, universities and other civil society have their role to play in the reception and integration of refugees, as well as in meeting “more ambitious targets”.