Britain Won't Perform 'Unethical' Dental Checks on Calais Child Migrants

Josh Kim
October 20, 2016

"We do not use dental x-rays to confirm the ages of those seeking asylum in the United Kingdom", a Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian.

Home Office officials say that once refugee children have arrived in Britain they are fingerprinted as part of further identity checks.

French authorities plan to close the so-called "Jungle" refugee camp, situated near the port of Calais, by the end of the year.

The move comes after calls from a Conservative MP for checks to be made because he said that some looked as if they were over 18. Critics say the children who have come to Britain so far are the ones who are easiest to process, because they have relatives in the United Kingdom, meaning they fall under EU-wide guidelines understood by the French, while the "Dubs" children have to be processed by the French using a British law they are not familiar with.

Doctors of the World UK called the idea "unethical and unnecessary", saying "healthcare workers are not border guards".

The controversy comes as new Home Office documents show almost two-thirds of "child" refugees who officials questioned about their real age were actually found to be adults in the year to September 2015.

Of 590 asylum applicants whose age was disputed, 574 were recorded as having an age assessment. Some 371 of those, or 65 percent, were found to be over 18.

Since 2011, there have been 11,121 asylum seekers involved in age disputes.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning (19th October), Mr Davies said that refugees should be given "the benefit of the doubt", but believes that numerous 14 refugees who arrived into the United Kingdom from Calais on Monday "don't look like children".

Mr Davies added that refugees are "desperate" and they will "say what they have to" to get into the country.

"It's not only an inaccurate method for assessing age, but it is both inappropriate and unethical to take radiographs of people when there is no health benefit for them". So I am very concerned about this.

"If they are jumping on lorries, they are not going to be averse to lying about their ages".

He added: "For the public to have confidence in the process and to feel that it is genuinely children that are being rescued it would not be unreasonable to make detailed checks, and if that includes dental checks, I think that would be perfectly sensible". "We should do the tests".

Mr Davies has defended his comments. We were given the impression that there were many young children who were desperate to get into the United Kingdom and that doesn't seem to have happened.

The Calais camp could be closed imminently after a French court rejected an appeal from aid groups to delay the clearance.

French authorities are expected to empty the sprawling site in the coming weeks and dismantle it by the start of winter.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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