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Queen's University
 

Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies


Portugal

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TOTAL SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 1 2 3.5


1. Constitutional, legislative or parliamentary affirmation of multiculturalism at the central and / or regional and municipal levels and the existence of a government ministry, secretariat or advisory board to implement this policy in consultation with ethnic communities

   No constitutional recognition, but there are references to interculturalism in legislation, as well as creation of various institutional bodies.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0.5 0.5

Evidence:

  • Although it has not been affirmed at a constitutional, legislative or parliamentary level, discourse in Portugal increasingly recognizes its transition from a country of emigration to one of immigration (Santos 2004). There are also references to interculturalism and intercultural dialogue in various pieces of legislation. For example, in 2001, the government passed Estabelece o estatuto legal do mediador sócio-cultural, which established the legal status of sociocultural mediators whose function it is to promote social cohesion, intercultural dialogue, inclusion and respect for cultural diversity. The mediators are typically from immigrant or ethnic communities and operate largely in schools, social service agencies (including immigrant support centres), and other public bodies. In addition, in 1996, legislation to create a task force for equality and insertion of Roma noted that the principle of equality implies respect for cultural diversity, which is increasingly a feature of Portuguese society.
  • Nonetheless, Fonseca et al. (2005, 27) note that “despite referring to the respect for the immigrants’ social and cultural identity, the law on the role of the [Portuguese High Commission for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities] focuses on ‘the promotion of the knowledge and acceptance of the Portuguese language, laws, and also of the cultural and moral values of the Portuguese Nation as conditions for a complete integration.’”
  • At an institutional level, the position of High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities was created in 1996. In 2003, it was refashioned into a High Commission, and its responsibilities were expanded (Santos 2004); in 2007, it was renamed the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue (ACIDI). ACIDI is responsible for immigrant integration and operates a number of National Immigrant Support Centres (CNAI), which use a “one-stop-shop” model to deliver services to newcomers. These include assistance related to health, education, banking, the labour market, and citizenship (Abranches 2009). ACIDI also works to combat racism and discrimination, as well as collaborating with NGOs and immigration associations. As Sardinha (2007) points out, the High Commission was created partly to ensure immigrant and minority communities could become partners in the policy process.
  • Related to this, there is an Advisory Committee for Immigration Affairs, which was created in 1998. Its structure was changed in 2002 to make it more of a government agency, and it was renamed the Consultative Council for Immigrant Issues (Fonseca et al. 2005). It works to strengthen consultation and dialogue between the government and organizations that represent immigrants and ethnic minorities. It also issues statements related to migrant rights and participates in policy-making processes related to immigrant integration (Abranches 2009). Associations that have been legally recognized by the High Commission have the right to participate in the Consultative Council and to be consulted on matters concerning immigrants and ethnic minorities (Sardinha 2009).


2. The adoption of multiculturalism in school curriculum

   Yes, although often positioned as "intercultural education programs.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0.5 0.5

Evidence:

  • The Portuguese Constitution includes provisions related to equity and cultural diversity in schools. Article 73 stipulates that “everyone has the right to education and culture” and, further, “the State shall promote the democratisation of education and the other conditions that enable education, both at school and elsewhere, to contribute to equality of opportunity, to surmounting economic, social and cultural inequality, to the development of the personality and the spirit of tolerance, mutual understanding, solidarity and responsibility, to social progress and to democratic participation in public life” (quoted in Lima and Gomes 2010, 19).
  • In 1991, the government created a Coordinating Office for Multicultural Education Programs; in 2001, it was replaced by the Entreculturas Office (Council of Europe 2010). The role of the Coordinating Office (and, later, Entreculturas) was to support schools in addressing students’ increasing social and cultural diversity (Martins 2008). Between 1993 and 1997, the Intercultural Education Project was carried out in 50 schools and aimed to promote equal opportunities, the integration of minority children, and intercultural education (Martins 2008). From 2001 onward, intercultural curriculum and education programs were mainstreamed and implemented in schools across the country. At this point, Entreculturas also moved from the Ministry of Education to the High Commission for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities, and intercultural education became an important component of immigrant integration strategies (ibid.). The 2007 National Immigrant Integration Plan includes 122 specific measures; Martins (2008) argues that underlying many of these is a commitment to creating a new space for immigrants’ citizenship within Portuguese society. This includes a recognition of “multiculturality” and diversity.
  • A 2010 report on cultural policies in Portugal finds a number of examples of intercultural education programs, many of which have been supported by the Ministry of Education. These include arts programs, sports activities, anti-racism initiatives, and programs to connect Roma and other students (Lima and Gomes 2010).


3. The inclusion of ethnic representation / sensitivity in the mandate of public media or media licensing

   Some provisions, although the emphasis remains on Portuguese language and culture.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • A new Television Law (Law 27/2007) was passed in 2007; it amends several earlier laws passed in the 1990s. Although the law does not specifically mention ethnic or cultural minorities, Article 6 does note that “the state, public service concession holders and other television operators shall collaborate in the pursuit of values of human dignity, the rule of law, democratic society and national cohesion, and in the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture, taking into consideration the special needs of specific groups of viewers” (emphasis added).
  • Article 9 of the Television Law further stipulates that “the purposes of general television program services are (a) to contribute to the information, education and entertainment of the public; (b) to promote the right to inform and be informed, accurately and independently, without impediments or discrimination; (c) engender the creation of habits for civic harmony appropriate in a democratic state and contribute to political, social and cultural pluralism; and (d) to promote Portuguese culture and language and the values that express national identity.” In this way, there are provisions related to respect for cultural pluralism, although the law does also emphasize the importance of promoting Portuguese culture.
  • This is confirmed in regulations related to programming content, which stipulate that at least 50 percent of the broadcasting air time must be allocated to Portuguese language programming and at least 20 percent for creative works in Portuguese. Non-Portuguese language programming must not exceed 25 percent of air time, and preference is to be given to European productions (Lima and Gomes 2010).
  • Nonetheless, Sardinha (2007) notes that once an immigrant association has been recognized by the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue—a process provided for in Law 115/99 which was passed in 1999—it has the right to participate in public processes related to the allocation of public broadcasting time on radio and television.
  • Fonseca et al. (2005) also point out that the High Commission has worked to increase ethnic representation in the media, most notably by producing documentaries and television programs that explore challenges faced by immigrants and minorities; these include the program entitled Nós (Us), which was broadcast on RTP 2, the Portuguese public television station. The High Commission also instituted the Immigration and Ethnic Minority—Journalism for Tolerance award, which recognizes exceptional reporting or journalism related to anti-racism or combating xenophobia.


4. Exemptions from dress codes (either by statute or court cases)

   No.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Portuguese law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity. Nonetheless, as Malheiros (2008, 43) points out, the Labour Code also provides that “difference in treatment shall not constitute discrimination if, by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activities concerned or of the context in which they are carried out, such a characteristic constitutes a justifiable and genuine occupational requirement.” In other words, if employers are able to justify differential treatment as necessary and related to occupational requirements, then it is permitted.
  • Malheiros (2008) further notes in his examination of anti-discrimination legislation in Portugal that he was unable to find any exceptions related to appearance or dress code in the case law on health and safety regulations. This suggests that employers would be permitted to enforce policies related to religious headgear or clothing so long as these could be justified as an occupational requirement or a matter of health and safety.


5. Allows dual citizenship

   Yes.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • In 1981, Portugal passed a law that would allow citizens who attained a foreign citizenship to nonetheless retain their Portuguese citizenship; prior to that, Portuguese citizens who attained another citizenship automatically lost their Portuguese citizenship (Faist and Gerdes 2008; see also United States Office of Personnel Management 2001).
  • A new citizenship law was passed in 2006. It expanded the right to acquire Portuguese citizenship, most notably allowing third-generation migrants to acquire Portuguese citizenship (third-generation migrants are those who are born in Portugal to a parent who was also Portuguese-born, but whose own parent(s) was foreign-born). Children who were born in Portugal to a foreign-born parent or parents are still prevented from becoming citizens until they have satisfied residency requirements (Fonseca et al. 2005).
  • While Faist and Gerdes (2008) position Portugal as a country that accepts dual nationality, they note that naturalization by immigrants remains low because of the restrictions placed on attaining citizenship if one is not born in Portugal. Still, they categorize Portugal as having a “tolerant” citizenship law (as opposed to, say, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, which are regarded as “restrictive”).


6. The funding of ethnic group organizations or activities

   Yes.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 1

Evidence:

  • Sardinha (2009) notes that since 2000, the number of immigrant and ethnic associations in Portugal has increased significantly, in part because of the adoption of new funding initiatives. In particular, associations may apply for technical support and project funding through a program called GATAIME, which is the Portuguese acronym for the Immigrant Associations Technical Support and Grants Office or Gabinete de Apoio Técnico às Associações de Imigrantes e Minorias Étnicas; the program is administered by the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural dialogue (Sardinha 2009). In a report on civic engagement in Portugal, Sardinha (2007) notes that in between July 2002 and February 2005, the High Commission granted 88 financial requests to 44 immigrant associations; 43 of the grants were one-off, while the remaining 45 were renewable on an annual basis. Altogether, the High Commission distributed about €962 million to immigrant and minority associations in the period under examination.
  • There are also programs that offer funding to support the placement of socio-cultural mediators in the country’s immigrant service centres; these are employees of various immigrant associations who are remunerated by the High Commission to assist with intercultural dialogue, translation and interpretation in the immigrant service centres (Sardinha 2009).


7. The funding of bilingual education or mother-tongue instruction

   No. Where courses exist, the objective seems largely to be the learning of Portuguese.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Prior to 2000 when several changes to immigration laws were adopted, the bulk of immigrants to Portugal were Portuguese-speaking. Increasingly, however, immigrants are arriving from China, Eastern Europe and other non-Lusophone countries, and schools are having some difficulties adapting to their new student bodies. Several schools are apparently offering Portuguese classes that are tailored to students who speak a foreign language, but it is not clear that the classes are specifically bilingual or offered partially in the students’ mother tongues (Fonseca et al. 2005).
  • Lima and Gomes (2010, 37) further report that “The Ministry of Education provides specialist language learning support to those whose mother-tongue is not Portuguese (with the possibility of providing tutors and involvement in specific projects).”


8. Affirmative action for disadvantaged immigrant groups

   No formal policy.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Portugal has a legal framework that prohibits discrimination on a number of grounds. This includes Law 18/2004 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, skin colour, nationality, and ethnic origin. Article 3(1) provides that “for the purpose of this law the principle of equality of treatment means the absence of any discrimination, direct or indirect, based on racial or ethnic origin,” while Article 3(2) notes that “all actions or omissions affecting persons on the grounds of race, skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin which violate the principle of equality are considered as discriminatory practices” (quoted in Malheiros 2008, 3).
  • The Labour Code, which was passed in 2003, protects individuals against direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, civil status, family situation, genetic patrimony, impaired work capacity, disability or chronic disease, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, political or ideological persuasion and membership of a trade union (Malheiros 2008).
  • Article 25 of the Labour Code provides that “legislative measures of a specifically defined temporary nature, benefiting certain disadvantaged groups, including groups defined by reference to sex, reduced working capability, disability or chronic illness, nationality or ethnic origin, enacted with the aim of guaranteeing the exercise, in conditions of equality, of the rights provided for in this code and of correcting a situation of factual inequality persisting in social life, shall not be considered discriminatory” (quoted in Malheiros 2008, 57). This suggests that affirmative action policies would be permissible if they are aimed at correcting existing inequalities. However, as Malheiros (2008) points out, this provision of the code has not been implemented.
  • Still, in the act that was passed to establish the legal status of sociocultural mediators, it is noted that recruitment will give preference to those who belong to immigrant or ethnic communities or who possess knowledge of the socio-cultural characteristics of target communities. While not an affirmative action policy per se, this assertion would give some preference to immigrant and ethnic minority groups.

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