Jun 16, 2011, 3:34 PM
A lot of Gambians who came through the Mediterranean seas to Italy mostly denounce their citizenship as soon as their fiber inflated boats anchor on shore in Lampedusa.
“Many Gambians are doing it because they find it difficult to get international protection. But they failed to understand that would hardly help them,” said migration lawyer Paolo Ottoviano.
The international protection procedures are unfavourable especially for those coming from countries like The Gambia and Senegal, where there is no war.
Guiseppe Monti, also a migration lawyer, said: “But the problem is many of them claimed to have come from countries whose information they (the claimants) don’t know.”
“If you claimed to come from Guinea Bissau, Serra Leone, Eritrea or Somalia how comes you cannot speak even one of the local languages there? This is how some of them are discovered and eventually rejected because they do not know about the countries they are claiming to have come from.”
Not only The Gambia.
This scenario is not only taking to Gambians as Antonio Colombo, a human rights lawyer, said he has come across many similar cases of undocumented migrants giving up their nationality for Italian papers.
“I came across a lot of cases of such many economic migrants do the same, not only Gambians. We found their stories very difficult to help them in front of the court for an international protection,” Lawyer Colombo said. “Some times others would simply tell you the truth, but when it is already too late and others would confess in front of the commission (court) after tedious questioning, putting their own credibility and that of the lawyer into question.”
Alexandra Ann, assistant lawyer, who has served as an interpreter for more than 6 years, said he is usually surprise when he saw people “blatantly lying rejecting their nationalities.”
“I have seen many Gambians doing it,” Mr Ann said. “As a Malian, I can easily spot out a Gambian for I have lived in both Senegal and The Gambia, and I can speak fluent Fula, Mandingo, Wolof and Sarahule. So I know their situations and I could tell when I speak to them whether or not they are Gambians.”
However, Ann said since his work is not to identify the nationality of the migrants, “I don’t give a dam to it”.