John Hemming, Coventry MPs and other members of the House have signed Early Day Motions* alerting parliament to the plight of ‘foreign national children’, urging government to maintain records of foreign nationals taken into care in England and to take steps to ensure that local authorities follow international law.

portuguese immigrant family

“UK adoption scandal”

This was the headline and photograph in the Portugal Resident, an English language newspaper for expatriate residents. It reports that last Wednesday, Portuguese immigrants Carla and José Pedro, who live in Grantham Lincolnshire, joined 30 other foreign immigrant couples (Russians, Lithuanians and Latvians) to petition the European Parliament in Brussels this week, fighting for children taken from their homes by UK authorities.

Correio da Manhã – a Portuguese daily – said that the cases related during a three-hour audience shocked euro MPs They point to the existence of a scheme in the UK involving lawyers, social workers and judges to take thousands of children a year from good parents – the majority being immigrants – and put them up for adoption, with the objective of feeding the industry surrounding adoptions”. One grandfather in the delegation “It’s all done for profit!”.

British Embassy and the British Consulate refuse to receive dossier

In its own report, Portugal’s SIC TV showed the parents and family members going to the British Embassy in Brussels where they attempted to deliver a dossier on the scandal. According to the report “neither the British embassy nor the British consulate would receive them”.

MEP Angelika Werthmann explained it is “very much a Human Rights issue . . .The Human Rights of the child need to be heard . . . the emotional damage of separation is plain for all to see.” Susana Frexes reporting for SIC, said that the Euro Parliament does not have the power to force the UK authorities to do anything, but the hope of families is that it can at least push for change.

Carla and José, both 43, told SIC television that they wanted their case to be transferred to social services in Portugal, as they are confident that if it is, they will then win parental custody back. All their children are reported to have Portuguese nationality.

It now remains to be seen what happens to these children, and those of all the other families (Russians, Lithuanians and Latvians) who petitioned Brussels.

*1] http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/764
 [2] http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/830
 [3] http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/406

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