MPs fight for rights for Portugal’s ‘disenfranchised children’

Bloco de Esquerda MPs are proposing a new nationality law to legalise children born in Portugal of foreign parents.

The reason is that too many of these children are now in the care of the State, without rights, say reports.

Indeed, authorities “do not even know” how many children are affected, just that ‘lack of nationality’ goes on to blight their lives.

BE is hoping for PS and PSD support.

The issue has been highlighted by Rui Baudouin of Aldeias Crianças SOS who explains that children in State care (because their parents are in prison, or have disappeared, or abandoned them) are “imprisoned by their parents’ history”.

They can go to Portuguese school, but without the necessary documentation, they miss out on basic rights. For example, they do not qualify for simple things like ‘extra tuition lessons”.

In cases where parents have disappeared, Rui Baudouin adds that “documents are requested through embassies” for the children left behind, but the process can be complicated, and end with no joy.

The truth is that “institutions cannot request Portuguese nationality in the name of the children, even if they have been born here” – and this is what the Bloco de Esquerda proposals mean to change.