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Cape Verdian woman finally wins lonely battle to recover her children

A Cape Verdian mother-of-10 has finally won the last round of a desperate four-year battle to recover custody of six of her children. Liliana Melo lost her youngest children because she refused to undergo medical sterilisation.

The European Court of Human Rights condemned Portuguese authorities earlier this year (click here), ordering them to pay Ms Melo €15000 in compensation, but until this month the women was still deprived full custody of her children.

With the situation finally changed, Público reports that the children are now living back with their mother in Mem Martins, on the outskirts of Lisbon, and have all started a new term at school.

It is the end of compounded misery that actually threatened Ms Melo at the outset with forced adoptions.

She told Público she was just grateful that the institutions to which her children were sent never explained this to them.

The children were only told that “the judge” had removed them, and until things were sorted, they would have to stay there.

Público’s article explained that when Ms Melo was finally allowed visiting rights after three years, the first thing one of her sons did was take her into his schoolroom to show his friends: “Look, look, this is my mother”.

Público’s article makes no mention of whether Ms Melo has received the €15,000 which the ECHR says Portugal should pay her.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com