Two minors have been identified among a group of homeless immigrants in Anjos, Lisbon

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Two unaccompanied minors have been identified among the many homeless immigrants staying overnight near the Anjos Church in Lisbon, said one of the lawyers who has been accompanying these people since last week.

According to Erica Costa, the minors were identified on Thursday, at 2:30 pm, when they presented birth certificates that allegedly prove that they were born in 2008, with one aged 15 and the other already 16. According to the lawyer, the presence of a translator who spoke Uolofe, a common language in Senegal, helped the youngsters to speak out.

Erica Costa, who works for Casa do Brasil and has been providing legal support to several homeless immigrants who have been identified since last week, in a joint effort with the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA) and the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML), said that the minors had been referred to AIMA.

According to the lawyer, an AIMA technician said that the young people would be taken to an emergency shelter, but this didn’t happen and the two young people remained on the street overnight.

Contacted by Lusa, a source from AIMA admitted that the organization was aware of this case, but would not confirm the age of the young people, explaining that the “two foreign citizens have applied for international protection at the AIMA Lisbon II Shop”.

“During the registration procedures and the collection of biometric data, it was found that both citizens had previously applied for international protection in Portugal, one in January and the other in February 2024, with personal data that differed from those they presented today, namely those relating to their ages,” says AIMA.

The organization, which was created following the extinction of the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF), claims that there is a “clear disparity between the alleged data and the various documents presented”, which is why the “competent authorities” will investigate whether or not there has been “the commission of criminal offenses”.

According to Erica Costa, the two young people, who entered Portugal by sea from Spain two months ago, actually applied for asylum as adults, along with two other people who accompanied them.

However, the lawyer argues that, given the doubts about the age of these young people, AIMA should have referred them to an emergency solution while it investigated the veracity of the facts, and not the other way around.

These young people are part of a group of dozens of homeless immigrants who, since last week, have been identified by the authorities near the Anjos Church in Lisbon, in an initiative by the Lisbon City Council (CML) with the involvement of various institutions.

At the time, an official from the Solidariedade Imigrante association told Lusa that the total number of homeless people in the area has recently fluctuated between 100 and 120, currently with a strong presence of citizens from Senegal and Gambia – “between 60 and 80” – most of whom have had their asylum applications rejected and have been “told to leave the country in 20 days”.

CML explained that the aim of the initiative was to “resolve the growing concentration of homeless people in the Jardim da Igreja dos Anjos”, by directing and responding to all the vulnerable people who find themselves there.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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