First 25 refugee children from Greece arrive in the first half of June

in News · 14-05-2020 11:00:00 · 0 Comments

The first 25 unaccompanied minors from refugee camps in Greece that Portugal will receive arrive in the country in the first half of June, with the host being under the responsibility of the Portuguese Red Cross, the Government said.

>"The reception of the first 50 children will be ensured by the Portuguese Red Cross and the first group of 25 children will arrive in the first half of June", said the Minister of State and the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, during a hearing in the commission constitutional affairs, rights, freedoms and guarantees.

The minister said that Portugal responded "in a positive way" to an appeal by Greece to receive 5,500 children, offering to welcome "500 unaccompanied minors recognizing their special vulnerability".

"The answer consists of a temporary reception, between three to six months, taking care of all the support and initial intervention that these children may need and then forwarding them to a more appropriate response to their profiles, their expectations and indeed the age they have" said the minister.

Faced with criticism from PSD deputy Lina Lopes, who recalled the case of the 15 minors in state custody who disappeared from the institutions they were in 2017 and who questioned the measures that will be taken to “go back to being ashamed” of having children who “just disappear”, Mariana Vieira da Silva replied that the Government “learned from experience” on the basis of which it designed a new reception programme.

“From the first hour, we designed this model of reception, benefiting from this case that went wrong and trying to correct the flaws that were identified. That said, reception facilities are not prisons and we are not available for a model in which structures where young people who already come from very difficult situations and from that feeling of imprisonment are now seeing a system of nets, closings and prison that we are not available to make,” said the minister.

Mariana Vieira da Silva added that the model designed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security and the Ministry of Internal Administration, seeks “small response centres, with a great educational accompaniment from the first time” and that there is an objective to receive these children in small groups so that they can “test this model”.

She also said that “the idea is that they [children] will not be institutionalised for the rest of their lives” and that the answer may go through the foster families, stressing that the age of the children being fostered is a factor to be taken into account.

Educational monitoring is being carried out by the Ministry of Education and the minister said that even the telescope provides a response to migrant children, with Portuguese as a Non-Maternal Language (PLNM) in its programming, to avoid “situations of exclusion or inequality in the face of the school".

About the PLNM, she added that the revision of the ordinance was placed on public consultation on Tuesday, 12 May to allow it to be integrated in the training given in the Qualifica centres, becoming accessible to citizens who still have the regularisation process in progress.

It is foreseen "a decrease in the maximum number of students per training group and also a decrease in the minimum number and greater flexibility in schedules to allow a better response to the needs of the trainees", said the minister to the deputies.


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