Age assessment of unaccompanied migrant children

Italian Presidency and Council of Europe joint Event
Rome 30 March 2022
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Age assessment of unaccompanied migrant children

The event “Age assessment of unaccompanied migrant children: promoting a human rights and multidisciplinary approach” has been organised jointly by Italy’s National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty (INMP) and the Office of the Special Representative on Migration and Refugees of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

The Italian Protocol for age assessment of unaccompanied migrant children will be presented, as well as the results of a national survey on its implementation at regional level. Other national procedures on age assessment, from Austria and Greece, will also be presented and discussed so that European countries can exchange information and learn from each other´s experience in the implementation of age assessment systems.

Although the assessment of age is not a purely medical provision, it is indeed of fundamental importance for the respect of the migrant's mental and physical health during his or her stay in the reception system. Therefore, this method should be activated as soon as possible whenever there are justified doubts about the real age of a migrant, just to protect the vulnerability of the minor. It is precisely for this reason that the procedure hast to be done in a culturally appropriate way, so that the supposed minor does not refuse to undergo it“, said the Director General of INMP, Concetta Mirisola.

The Council of Europe´s expertise in this field includes recommendations, guidelines, training courses and a compilation of standards and good practices. In addition, the Council of Europe is currently in the final stages of adopting a Recommendation on Human Rights Principles and Guidelines on age assessment for children in the context of migration, which is part of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe (2021-2025).

The importance of a human rights and multidisciplinary approach to age assessment remains a pressing need to protect the rights of vulnerable children in the context of migration and asylum. The use of common principles and guidelines across our member states will greatly contribute to upholding the human rights of children on the move”, said the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, Leyla Kayacik.

Maria-Andriani Kostopoulou, Chair of the Council of Europe's Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child was among keynote speakers.

The programme also included presentations by relevant international organisations (EU Agency for Asylum, UNHCR and UNICEF) and civil society (Save the Children).

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