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Conflicting reports about Nepalese boy attack

Atualizado: 21 de mai.

On Tuesday, Rádio Renascença reported that a nine-year-old boy of Nepalese nationality had been attacked by other classmates at a school in Lisbon about two months ago.

The complaint was made to by Ana Mansoa, the Executive Director of a church institution, the Padre Alves Correia Centre (CEPAC), who believes that it had xenophobic and racist motivations.

"The son of a lady cared for by CEPAC, who is nine years old and a Nepalese child, was the victim of lynching at school by his classmates. It was filmed and posted on the children's WhatsApp groups," described Mansoa.

According to her, the boy was ‘insulted’ by phrases like “go back to where you came from”, “we don’t want you here”, “you don’t belong here”.

However, on Wednesday, the Ministry of Education said that the school where a violent assault against a 9-year-old Nepalese child was reported is unaware of "the alleged episode" and that the only Nepalese students at the school are in secondary education.

"This doesn't mean that these situations don't obviously deserve our best attention. It's one of the great challenges we have in education in Portugal, which is the large number of foreigners we have in our schools," it said.

On Thursday, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) confirmed that it had received a complaint about the alleged assault of a Nepalese pupil at a school in the Lisbon region - it later turned that it took place in Amadora.

In a written reply to Observador, the PGR "confirmed receipt of a complaint related to the matter, clarifying that it does not contain information regarding the victim's nationality".

"The complaint only states the nationality of the mother, who is not Nepalese," it said in its reply to Observador, adding that "as the specific age of the perpetrators of the incident is not known, an educational guardianship enquiry and a criminal enquiry have been opened".

In the case of minors, a criminal enquiry cannot be opened.

The case sparked national outrage following reports that only one of aggressors had been "suspended for three days"as a result of the attack.

Mansoa criticised the way the case was handled in the school context. "It was very inadequate for the seriousness of the facts. So much so that the family didn't feel safe at school and asked to be transferred," she says.

"It was a very conservative approach. It was a discourse that focused on the fact that they were children, that they couldn't value these behaviours and that it was an isolated situation. The school itself didn't report the case. I think this is serious," she says.

According to Mansoa, the attack was carried out by five of the victim's colleagues, one of whom was more involved than the others in the physical assaults, and a sixth who filmed the assaults and then shared them on social media.

"It was very serious and had a huge impact, not only on the physical well-being, but also on the emotional and psychological well-being of this family, who ended up requesting a transfer from the school and we managed to do it for the child's safety," says the same source.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Home Affairs, Margarida Blasco, has promised more policing in schools to prevent hate crimes.

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