Saman Abbas, as an Italian citizen could have been saved

Saman Abbas’s life was shattered by a group of men he chose for her. Choked in his freedom, because no decision taken could deviate from the will of the patriarchs. For foreign women, chains go the double loop, less independent, more subject to blackmail by heads of families. And the object of power is also contained in the sheets of paper, those of the residence permit or citizenship.

Saman was in danger, he knew, “I heard ‘let’s kill her’, if you don’t hear me for 48 hours, contact the police,” she told her boyfriend on the evening of April 30th. Disappears that evening.

Saman Abbas, the latest audio message to her boyfriend: “ I heard them say ‘let’s kill her’ ‘

Saman had sought help, she is 17 when she denounced her parents in October: they want to force her to marry a cousin in Pakistan and prevent her from going to school. According to the uncle, accused of being the perpetrator of the murder, of not being “a good Muslim”. An emergency provision of the social services and the Juvenile Court ensures that it is housed away from the family home. But the young woman comes of age in December, it is no longer possible to keep her, the key to freedom lies in one’s documents. Father Shabbar guards them. Back home on April 15, she demands them, but does not get them, which is why Saman turns to the police, who only arrive on May 5, when it is now late.

“Citizenship is a question of generand », denounces the Casa delle Donne Lucha y Siesta, committed to providing physical and dialogue spaces in Rome. “Many girls and many women are still deprived of the possibility of acquiring citizenship from their fathers or husbands”, reads the dossier “Citizenship at 18”, edited by Black Lives Matter Rome and G2 – Second Generations, presented on 2 June, focused precisely on art. 4 of the law n. 91 of 1992 (which provides the possibility for many young people to be recognized de jure as Italian citizens only when they reach the age of eighteen).

Renewal of permits and acquisition of citizenship are linked to the income that is often in the hands of the male family, the paycheck holder, a necessary requirement for submitting the application. But also to the header of the residence. «The origin of the migratory experience process is often economic and man conditions all subsequent steps. It shouldn’t be a subjective right, but a legitimate one. If citizenship is a right it should be protected at least in bureaucratic procedures ”, comments Mohamed Taimoun, of G2.

The residence permits of fathers and husbands, in fact, bind those of daughters and wives. Those same fathers and husbands who often impose violence and prevarication, as in the case of Saman. And sometimes the only way to escape from the father is to come under the control of a husband. «The lack of access to citizenship is an impediment to women’s autonomy. As for access to the residence permit for family reasons, it makes the process much more difficult, women often work informally and cannot prove their earnings. Permits are denied up to the age of 18, even for those born in Italy. And over a million boys and girls are in this situation ”, explains Enrica Rigo, Clinic of Immigration Law and Citizenship of the Roma Tre University.

“When women choose to escape from situations of violence and to emancipate themselves, the criteria for citizenship lapse and the procedure is interrupted: women also experience a marginalization in the world of work, they have a lower income situation than men. They often work in black or gray, not reaching the criteria for access to citizenship “, says Simona Ammarata, operator of Lucha y Siesta and explains that in the case of foreign women, the development of documents also stops with open criminal proceedings and in the case of separation from her husband. «Care work within the home is not recognized. This is why we have helped women to look for work, but the procedure times are still too long ».

With the Salvini decrees, the situation has even worsened, in fact the times have lengthened and in these cases the highest costs are always paid by women: “When a woman enters an anti-violence path, the residence permit is a problem in more. And once the requisites for citizenship have been acquired, two to four years pass – adds Rigo – These are a very long time compared to other countries: it means expelling a large part of the population from civil and political life ». Even the reform of the Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese did not restore the previous situation, but found a compromise on the downside. As many second-generation associations of Italians have denounced, a reform of the law on citizenship is necessary, which is thirty years old and inapplicable in many parts. And that not foresee the so-called ius soli, by birth, and the ius culturae, in the event that one arrived in Italy as a child. A reform that would affect over 1 million and 316 thousand minors, of which over 990 thousand were born in Italy, 11% of the population aged 0-18.

“Let’s ask ourselves what would have happened if Saman had had citizenship, or the opportunity to acquire it away from home, thus managing to untie himself from that subordinate family in which he lived,” declares Marwa Mohmoud, regional councilor of Reggio Emilia. “We need to understand what went wrong to understand in terms of victim protection. And to evaluate a specific regulatory process aimed at victims of violence or forced marriages, as happens in other European legal systems. This patriarchal bond between victims and perpetrators must be overcome. Instead of living with a mental pressure of identity, in which you feel you are a citizen of Pakistan and in which the state where you live recognizes you as an illegitimate daughter ».


Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by espresso.repubblica.it.

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