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Ethical aspects of medical age assessment in the asylum process:a Swedish perspective
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics.
2017 (English)In: International journal of legal medicine (Print), ISSN 0937-9827, E-ISSN 1437-1596Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to European regulations and the legisla-tions of individual member states, children who seek asylumhave a different set of rights than adults in a similar position.To protect these rights and ensure rule of law, migration au-thorities are commonly required to assess the age of asylumseekers who lack reliable documentation, including throughvarious medical methods. However, many healthcare profes-sionals and other commentators consider medical age assess-ment to be ethically problematic. This paper presents a sim-plified and amended account of the main findings of a recentethical analysis of medical age assessment in the asylum pro-cess commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Healthand Welfare. A number of ethical challenges related to con-flicting goals, equality and fairness, autonomy and informedconsent, privacy and integrity, and professional values androles are identified and analysed. It is concluded that most ofthese challenges can be met, but that this requires a systemwhere the assessment is sufficiently accurate and where ade-quate safeguards are in place. Two important ethical questionsare found to warrant further analysis. The first is whetherasylum seekers’consent to the procedure can be consideredgenuinely voluntary. The second is whether and how medicalage assessments could affect negative public attitudes towardsasylum seekers or discriminatory societal views more generally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Ageassessment.Asylumseekers.Ethicalissues.Unaccompanied minors
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334381DOI: 10.1007/s00414-017-1730-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-334381DiVA: diva2:1159564
Available from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-23 Last updated: 2017-11-23

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