Following a relentless media campaign to highlight Portuguese ‘victims’ of Britain’s alleged “stolen children scandal”, the government has at last agreed to step in.
Pedro Proença - one of the Portuguese lawyers who travelled to England in a bid to help an ever increasing number of Portuguese families recover children from the enforced care of British social service - has told TVI24 that pro-bono efforts have at last borne fruit.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has guaranteed that it will be giving special attention to these cases, evaluating them one by one”, he said.
“If cases of real abuse by the British authorities are detected - processual failings or illegalities by the courts and social services - the Portuguese government will step into alert the British government”.
The news is a red-letter day for so many Portuguese emigrés struggling to recover children removed and even placed for adoption on what they claim were totally spurious circumstances.
Portuguese media ‘woke up’ to this scandal in 2014 when five Portuguese children were taken from parents whose pleas for help at the time fell on deaf ears.
Carla and José Pedro joined a protest taken to the European Parliament in which McKenzie Friend campaigner Sabine McNeill made a passionate speech that has since become a landmark in this agonising struggle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orknH8A5AAg).
Since then however many more Portuguese children have ‘disappeared’ into the British care system - and the Pedro’s are still battling for theirs. Hundreds of immigrants to the UK are in a similar agonising predicament, but in cases involving other nationalities governments have already stepped in.
Nationally, TVI24 has been fighting this issue with its documentaries “Love you Mom”, all of which are freely available online.
The four episodes so far have stressed the fact that “many mothers are told they will never see their children again if they speak to the press”. Criticism over the (lack of) support given by Portuguese consulate authorities has also been highlighted.
Thus this latest news is what campaigners were aiming for. Said Proença yesterday: “We hope it will result in more children being returned to Portuguese families”.
PHOTO: the Pedro children, all still in care, with their mother who has vowed never to give up in her battle to get them back.