A judge in the first civil division of the Milan court made this statement on 7 June 2016 while delivering a verdict in an appeal case involving a Gambian who was identified as a UDP militant.
The so-called militant’s case was taken to the court after he was refused international protection as a refugee.But the Milan court has now granted him a humanitarian protection as the judge described Gambian migrants as vulnerable and thus deserving protection by the Italian government.
The judge said the court should give protection to the poor like those from The Gambia and cited many provisions from both Italian and international legislations to beef up this claim.He maintained that courts should embody their responsibility of dispensing social justice especially to the most vulnerable.
In his verdict, the judge said poverty is a sufficient condition to remain in Italy as a refugee just like wars and persecutions.He said everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and essential social services.
By this judgement, the so-called UDP militant has the right to stay in Italy regularly although the court did not believed his story that he was persecuted in The Gambia for political reasons.
The judge said even if the young man was not at risk for persecution, he simply has to be accepted in Italy because there is poverty in The Gambia which exposes him to a condition of “vulnerability”.
The judge cited the fact that life expectancy is 59.4 years in The Gambia, in Italy it is 82 year; the GDP per capita in The Gambia is $1,600, in Italy it is $35,000 in Italy; and there is a ‘hunger season’ in The Gambia that lasts every year from two to four months.
The lawyer said it would appear contradictory and implausible that the UDP militant and other Gambians take a trip so long, uncertain and risky for their lives when they enjoy in The Gambia a living conditions above the threshold of acceptability.
Repatriating the so-called UDP militant and other Gambians would put them in a situation of extreme economic and social difficulties, he said.
The Milan court judge said the repatriation would amount to imposing living conditions on them totally inadequate and such would be in defiance of the national obligations of Italy and international solidarity.
Analysts said the verdict offers a glimmer of hope to Gambians in Italy who are categorised as economic migrants and are refused protection en mass.