Five hundred unaccompanied refugee children will be relocated to Portugal as soon as restrictions on movement imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak are lifted, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva announced on Tuesday.
“The commitment to take in 500 of the (over) 5,000 unaccompanied minors in camps in Greece remains and it will happen as soon as restrictions due to the pandemic allow us,” Santos Silva told a parliamentary committee, according to local news agency Lusa.
Silva’s announcement came after Portugal’s Socialist Party lawmaker Isabel Santos said on Saturday that 60 unaccompanied children from Greek refugee camps were expected to arrive in Portugal within the next few weeks.
Although Silva said the reception and reintegration of the 500 children was currently being prepared by the government, Deputy of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic Beatriz Gomes Dias, said the conditions of the accommodation given to refugees in Portugal is often not adequate.
Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied children, are living in squalid conditions in overcrowded camps on several Greek islands after arriving from the nearby Turkish coast. Many more are housed in camps, apartments and other shelters across the mainland.