Italy: Humanitarian visa issued for vulnerable unaccompanied child in Libya

Thursday, February 21, 2019

On 21 February, the Civil Court of Rome ruled in a case submitted by the mother of a Nigerian unaccompanied child in Libya who applied for a humanitarian visa to join his mother and brother in Italy and receive medical treatment.
The unaccompanied child arrived in Libya in 2016, where he experienced exploitation and detention. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) assisted the child in contacting his mother in Italy and found accommodation for him. The organisation submitted that the boy had undergone two operations on his leg as a result of an accident and was in urgent need of further surgery. A hospital in Turin provided a detailed treatment plan in respect of the child. However, in their efforts to get the child to Italy for treatment, the IOM were unable to obtain an Italian entry visa or a travel document for the child. 
In examining the case, the Civil Court of Rome recognized that the application could be submitted under Article 25 of the Visa Code Regulation 810/09, which allows Member States to to derogate from the principle that the entry conditions laid down in Article 5(1)(a),(c),(d) and (e) of the Schengen Borders Code must be fulfilled.

In reaching this decision, the Court considered the child’s poor health condition, the lack of adequate treatment in Nigeria or Libya, and the need to reunite the family, with a view to the particular vulnerability of the child. The Court considered that the granting of an entry visa for Italy would be in the child’s best interest as he would be reunited with his mother and would receive the treatment he required. In coming to this decision, the Court referred to the Italian constitutional right to family unity and the right to respect for family life under Article 8 of the ECHR, as well as the right to health that is also protected in the Constitution.

The Court also examined the situation in Nigeria, particularly with regard to the lack of adequate medical facilities, as well as the situation in Libya. It recognised the violence faced by migrants in Libya, including at the hands of the Libyan Coastguard, and their lack of access to health care. The Court further recognised that the child was unable to walk, to leave his home in Libya, or to attend school.

In light of the above, the Court ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a humanitarian visa and a travel permit to the child.

Thank you to Maurizio Veglio for bringing our attention to this case.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.




Humanitarian considerations
Unaccompanied minor
Vulnerable person