CPR – Portuguese Council for Refugees
The Scientific Council of OBSERVARE of Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa decided unanimously to award the prize for collective entities to the Portuguese Refugee Council (CPR) at its 3rd International Conference. The Conference’s central theme – Beyond Borders. People, spaces, ideas – evokes the great movements of populations that characterize the present, including the dramatic flows of refugees that cross the borders of many latitudes. Recently, Europe faced an unprecedented wave of fugitives from wars, misery and oppression, while former UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In this context, the work of the CPR, which has celebrated its 25 years of existence, stands out in Portugal. Created on 20 September 1991, the CPR has affirmed itself as the most important national non-governmental organization supporting those who seek refuge in our country. It provides legal assistance to asylum seekers and support regarding linguistic training, social integration and job placements.
This practice is inspired by the highest values of humanism, solidarity, recognition of human dignity, tolerance, and generosity, in the best tradition of our civilizations. The CPR has contributed to ensure that, even internationally, these values prevail in legislation and above all in the actions of governments and peoples. Accordingly, it is the operational partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Portugal, with whom it established a Cooperation Protocol in July 1993 for the legal and social protection of asylum seekers and refugees. Since December 1998, when the UNHCR closed in Portugal, the CPR has been representing this organization in our country.
In the European context, the CPR is a member of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), of the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA) and of the Separated Children European Programme (SCEP). In Portugal, the Parliament distinguished the CPR with the “Human Rights” award on 12 December 2000.
Considering that the OBSERVARE prize aims to recognize and honour individual or collective persons who are inspiring examples, whether through intellectual contributions or through action aimed at solidarity between peoples or the peaceful resolution of conflicts, the decision to award it to the Portuguese Refugee Council is amply justified.