Food baskets with the sign ''if you can, put in, if you can't, take'', in the city center of Naples during the lockdown due to the coronavirus emergency, March 30, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/CESARE ABBATE
Food baskets with the sign ''if you can, put in, if you can't, take'', in the city center of Naples during the lockdown due to the coronavirus emergency, March 30, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/CESARE ABBATE

A foreign woman will receive compensation from the municipal administration of Naples after being denied a food-shopping bonus amid to the economic emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A court in Naples ruled that the measure can't exclude foreigners.

A judge in Naples has ruled in favor of a Georgian woman who filed a claim against the city of Naples after being denied a food-shopping bonus provided by the municipal administration to help disadvantaged families deal with the economic emergency caused by the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, local newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno reported on May 27. 

The court said that the measure passed to create the solidarity fund 'Heart of Naples' was ''discriminatory'' and ''must be reformulated'' because it should not exclude foreign citizens, even if they don't reside in the city. 

The municipal regulation said applicants needed to reside in the city or close to it to obtain the bonus. 

The court ruled that the municipality will have to pay the equivalent of the food coupon it denied to the mother of three. 

Municipal government rejects 'discrimination charges' 

Naples Welfare Councilor Monica Buonanno commented the court's ruling expressing ''disappointment'' and denying ''in the most absolute way any charge of discrimination''. 

The councilor said in a statement that the woman's situation is "complex" because she "never presented a request for a bonus nor applied to social services to make her situation known and to obtain aid through the supply of a food package." 

The councilor said that the food package has been "distributed to all citizens in difficulty", or over 4,000 people who did not qualify for a food-shopping bonus but received the aid regardless of where they resided. 

Bonanno said the case ''must be considered an exception in a system which has guaranteed in a concrete way its support to all vulnerable groups, including migrants, through concrete actions. We have listened to and taken care of all cases that could present anomalies which were presented to us by associations, committees and single citizens, in order to be as inclusive as possible." 

'Food coupon also for asylum seekers' 

''The administration is the only one to have recognized the food-shopping bonus, along with other benefits, to regular immigrants, Roma citizens, asylum seekers, beneficiaries of international protection and those who have a residence of proximity while other municipalities in Italy have demanded registered residence as a requirement'' for aid, said Buonanno.

The councilor also stressed that the city of Naples accepted "the applications for a bonus filed by 1,137 asylum seekers and/or political refugees, 3,318 applicants who lived near Naples or did not reside" in the port city but who could prove that they "were in the city of Naples during the isolation period" due to the coronavirus emergency.
 

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