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European Court of Human Rights says Portugal was wrong to remove seven children from mother

A Cape Verdian mother who saw Portuguese authorities demand the forced adoption of her seven children because she refused to undergo a procedure for sterilisation has at last won recognition in the European Court of Human Rights.

Portugal was wrong to remove the children, says the court, and should pay their mother €15,000 in damages.

But for now, six of the children, aged between four and 11, remain in institutions

The seventh she managed to hide with relatives when her other children were taken.

The mother has “several times” assured social workers that the child is well, writes Público, while it remains unclear whether she will ever win back her childrens’ custody.

The ECHR has simply advised Portugal to re-examine the case that dates back to a court decision in 2012.

The court ruled that authorities repeatedly violated Article 8 in the Convention of Human Rights (relating to the right to privacy and family life) – particularly since Liliana Melo was actually prohibited from even visiting her children for almost three years, Público continues.

The case reached the public eye in 2013 when the Portuguese association of large families criticised the decision to “impose the obligation of sterlisation” on a woman in the first place.

The association said it was an “unhappy” sign of the political orientation of the times.

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