Portugal has received 7,700 applications for compensation from military personnel from former colonies. Only eight are being analyzed.


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These are citizens from countries such as Angola, Mozambique or Guinea-Bissau who served in the Portuguese armed forces during the colonial war.

The Directorate-General of Defense Resources has received 7,762 requests for compensation for military service from former combatants recruited in the former Portuguese colonies, of which only eight are being analyzed.

In response to questions posed by the Lusa agency, the Ministry of Defense said that the “overwhelming majority” of requests from ex-combatants – whose day is celebrated on Sunday – concern ex-combatants of local recruitment who “have no record of a contributory career in Portugal, either in the General Social Security or in the Caixa Geral de Aposentações, being considered as not covered” because they do not meet the legal requirements for the granting of special retirement or pension supplements.

Of the total number of applications, “only eight are being examined and may result in the award of compensation”.

These figures come from a database of the General Directorate of National Defense Resources, which points out that there may be repeated requests because they were made by the same applicant.

In March, the Parliamentary Committee on Defense received an information from the office of the Minister of Defense, Helena Carreiras, prepared by the Directorate General, on the follow-up given to a parliamentary resolution (presented by the CDS-PP in the last legislature) that recommended the government to study the compensation of former military personnel recruited in the former Portuguese colonies “without a contributory career record”.

These are citizens from countries such as Angola, Mozambique or Guinea-Bissau who served in the Portuguese armed forces during the colonial war.

The CDS initiative insisted that the government comply with another joint resolution presented by the PS, PSD, PCP and CDS, already approved in 2019, with the aim of preparing “a study on how to attribute the benefits contained in Law 3/2009” to these former combatants.

This law defines the procedures necessary for the attribution of benefits resulting from periods of military service under special conditions of difficulty or danger.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the law, as well as the Statute of the Former Combatant (approved in July 2020), does not deprive these ex-soldiers of the right to special retirement and pension supplements, but it does require “the registration of a contributory career in the Portuguese social security systems or in the country with which an international agreement has been established.

This is because the law does not confer the right to an autonomous benefit solely for the performance of military service.

The Guardianship emphasizes that the fact of being covered by the Statute of the Former Combatant does not exempt the fulfillment of “the specific requirements established by each diploma for the effect of access to benefits”.

This means that there may be former combatants qualified as such by the Statute, “entitled to the card”, but who will not have access to the special retirement or pension supplements if they do not meet the requirements established by law.

In the information sent to the Parliament, the General Directorate of Defense Resources suggests that if a modification of the current legislation is considered, the benefit to be granted is the Special Pension Supplement (SEP), “since the application of the other benefits provided for in the legislation would result in an even greater burden.

However, the entity warns in the text that the General Archives of the Army would have “serious difficulties” in making the respective counts of military service or certifying the completion of military service, “since it has only a small part of the individual files of the universe of these former combatants, which, for various reasons, have either been destroyed or lost.

The Directorate-General also points out that it is not known whether “the payment of any benefit by the Portuguese Social Security would be feasible or not, since the universe to be covered has no records in that entity.

During the colonial war, Portugal recruited thousands of soldiers from the local population, and in several theaters of operations, most of the troops were African.

After the war, many of these soldiers were left in the territories, and there were several extrajudicial executions by the liberation forces.

Source: https://cnnportugal.iol.pt/ministerio-da-defesa/militares/portugal-recebeu-7-700-pedidos-de-compensacao-de-militares-das-ex-colonias-apenas-oito-estao-em-analise/20230408/6431734f0cf2c84d7fd0702b

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