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Conferences in Brussels and Lisbon, and mission to Spain

11 April 2018, Brussels, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees (SRSG) participated in the second edition of the conference “Lost in migration - Working together in protecting children from disappearance”, organised by Missing Children Europe and the Maltese President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. The discussion focused on progress achieved since last year on the protection of children in migration. Activities of the Council of Europe related to refugee and migrant children, such as the Thematic Report on migrant and refugee children, and the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe (2017-2019) and other concrete actions achieved or under way, were presented as complementary to EU efforts in improving the situation of children affected by migration.

5 April 2018, Lisbon, the Special Representative participated in the International Conference on “Higher Education in Emergencies”, organised by the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Global Platform for Syrian Students. The aim of the conference was to develop a fast-track solution to the problem of delivering more, better and faster higher education opportunities in emergency situations and to debate growing sentiments of nationalist populism in the migration/refugee context. “It is self-evident that the only way to combat populist, xenophobic and nationalist policies is through putting in place effective, balanced and comprehensive approach to education”, the Special Representative said. During his visit to Portugal, he also met with the High Commissioner for Migration Pedro Calado, to discuss good examples and practices on how to successfully integrate migrants in Europe.  

18 to 24 March 2018, in Spain, during his fact-finding mission, the Special Representative met refugees and migrants, including children, and discussed about their journey to Europe and experience in different reception and detention facilities after arriving to Spain. He also learned about the challenges faced by central and regional authorities in Ceuta and Melilla and good existing practices in Malaga, Valencia and Madrid.