“At the moment only four adults from the second group and a teengar are with us”, confirms an official source of the Portuguese Council for Refugees (CPR) to national newspaper Diário de Notícias.
The 19 Moroccan immigrants who illegally landed in the Algarve were staying with and receiving support from the CPR. A first group of eight arrived last December, and a second group of 11 last January.
Tito Matos, coordinator of the CPR, is unaware of the location and motivations of those who abandoned the government’s support, but says that the “individuals concerned started to leave as they were informed of the negative response to their asylum application. We do not know where they are, although there are some sporadic contacts “.
In January, remember, the SEF Office of Asylum and Refugees considered granting asylum to the group Moroccans who had arrived at Monte Gordo beach. Immigrants in the second group were also receiving the same response.
Despite this decision, these immigrants could still benefit from a residence permit “exceptionally” for “humanitarian reasons”, granted by the Minister of Internal Affairs. “This assessment is not yet finished, what was requested was an international protection statute, we understand that it does not make any sense, in relation to a friendly country like Morocco, to grant an asylum status for which no adequate basis has been presented.”, Eduardo Cabrita said at the time, adding that alternatives would always be evaluated, “namely the granting of a residence permit “. But the Moroccan immigrants seemingly didn’t want to wait.
Police sources who were following the process simply announced that the “immigrants are in an unknown whereabouts” and that “most likely they went to Spain or France to join their large communities, as, Portugal was likely just a gateway to Europe”.
António Nunes, president of the Observatory for Security, Organized Crime and Terrorism (OSCOT) believes that “with this outcome, there are lessons to be learned for the future: first, these decisions have to be much faster; second, in this type of cases, while waiting In response to their requests, applicants should be kept under strict surveillance, as is the case at airports, and not under an open regime as was the case”. The international security expert believes that “only in this way can our country and the authorities guarantee the European Union that they control borders”.
He added that “our authorities cannot allow people to enter illegally and who, having received institutional support, then flee and enter the European space illegally”. “And just by chance were any of them part of a terrorist cell?” He asks. “It is a risk that we cannot take and Portugal is very poorly viewed by European partners, because we were responsible for these people”.