"We would like to jointly affirm the excellent cooperation between the Portuguese and Greek Governments on issues regarding the relocation process of refugees as agreed and stated in EU Council Decisions of 22.7.2015 and 22.9.2015.
According to these decisions vulnerable applicants in need of international protection have to be given priority. Under Directive 2013/33/EU the following are defined as vulnerable applicants: “minors, unaccompanied minors, disabled people, elderly people, pregnant women, single parents with minor children, victims of human trafficking, persons with serious illnesses, persons with mental disorders and persons who have been subjected to torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence, such as victims of female genital mutilation”.
As regards specifically the issue of Yazidis we would like to confirm that they are treated as one of the vulnerable groups of people among the other described above.
In order to clear wrong impressions that seem to have been created and circulate in the Portuguese and international media we would like to underline the following:
- The procedure of relocation of Yazidis coordinated between the Greek and Portuguese Asylum Services is advancing smoothly.
- Yazidis’ family bonds are respected during the relocation procedure. Yazidis with family links in other countries such as Germany are relocated there, while others are sent to other countries such as Portugal.
- There is no question of hampering -neither from the Greek nor from the Portuguese side- any person already in the relocation process from reaching Portugal.
We do not comprehend why a misunderstanding was provoked since the statements made by the Greek side regarding not prioritising one vulnerable group over another were confirmed by the European Commission’s spokesperson, Mrs Natasha Bertaud, who declared that the countries participating in the relocation programme do not have the right to choose which people they will relocate.
We utterly condemn any misleading information disseminated that harm the process of relocation and the arduous efforts taken from the Greek and Portuguese sides whereas at the same time they cause enormous concern among the refugees population who rather need reassurance and a sense of security.
Ioannis MOUZALAS Constança URBANO DE SOUSA
Greek Minister on Migration Portuguese Minister of Interior"
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