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Country of Decision : Italy
Court Name : IT: Civil Court [Tribunali]
Date of decision : 19/09/2020
Type : Judgment
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : 39278/2019

Applicant (Guinea) v Ministry of the Interior (Ministero dell'interno)


IT: Milan Civil Court granted refugee protection to Guinean national suffering from epilepsy, based on the ground of membership of a particular social group because of his disease and risks of persecution in his country of origin

The applicant, a Guinean national, was recognised refugee status by the Court of Milan in a decision where it was assessed that stigma and social persecution of people with epilepsy are characteristics for belonging to a particular social group subject to discrimination.

The court concluded that according to multiple country of origin reports, the Guinean health system is deficient, lacks facilities and people with epilepsy are discriminated against because they are perceived by family and community as being affected by supernatural phenomena and witchcraft, including punishments from the past. Consequently, it was held that persons with epilepsy are subject to isolation and discrimination from family members and most of the population because of widespread beliefs. It was also added that state actors can not offer sufficient protection for nationals suffering from such a disease. The court stated that acts and behaviours of the community towards such persons can give rise to serious human rights violations and social stigma: risks of being subjects to treatment that could strongly affect living conditions, access to healthcare, work, and they could not enjoy a dignified life with full exercise of civil and political rights. Given the circumstances and situation in Guinea, acts of persecution against persons suffering from epilepsy are motivated by the applicant belonging to a particular social group defined by Article 8 letter d) of Legislative Decree 251/2007 as "one made up of members who share an innate trait or a common history, which cannot be changed, or share a trait or faith which is so fundamental to identity or consciousness that a person should not be forced to give it up, or that which it has a distinct identity in the country of origin, because it is perceived as different from the surrounding society”. The Court of Appeal concluded that the applicant is perceived to be different from the rest of society, that he has a feeling of a distinct identity in the country of origin and there is a nexus between acts of persecution and one of the five grounds referred to in Article 7 of Legislative Decree No 251/2007 – membership of a particular social group.

Assessment of Application; Country of Origin Information; Medical condition; Membership of a particular social group; Refugee Protection; Second Instance determination; Vulnerable Group;

National law only (in case there is no reference to EU law/ECHR);


Italy, Civil Court [Tribunali], Applicant (Guinea) v Ministry of the Interior (Ministero dell'interno), 39278/2019, 19 September 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.