Determining the age of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum

Determining the age of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum

On 07 October 2020, Member of the European Parliament Rob Rooken of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group posed a written question to the European Commission asking the Commission “will it oblige the Member States to determine by radiographic examination the age of any asylum seeker who claims to be an unaccompanied minor, the aim being to prevent fraudulent attempts to be identified as a minor?”

On 18 November, the question was responded to by Commissioner Ylva Johansson, responsible for Home Affairs, on behalf of the European Commission. In her response she stated “pursuant to Directive 2013/32/ EU, Member States may use medical examinations for determining the age of an applicant for international protection where, following statements or other relevant indications, Member States have doubts concerning the applicant’s age” and added that “this directive does not require the Member States to use medical examinations for that purpose”.

In closing, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson declared that “The European Asylum Support Office’s Practical Guide on age assessment recommends to use a gradual approach to the age assessment — i.e., starting from non-medical methods (e.g. examination of documentation and circumstantial evidence, interviews, psychosocial evaluations, etc.), and where those are inconclusive, moving on to medical non-invasive methods (i.e., radiation-free methods, such as dental examination, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, etc.), and finally, make use of more invasive medical examination methods (such as radiology) only as a last resort, where all non-invasive methods have proven inconclusive”.

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