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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.
2018 (English)In: International journal of legal medicine (Print), ISSN 0937-9827, E-ISSN 1437-1596, Vol. 132, no 3, p. 815-823Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to European regulations and the legisla-tions of individual member states, children who seek asylum have a different set of rights than adults in a similar position.To protect these rights and ensure rule of law, migration authorities are commonly required to assess the age of asylum seekers who lack reliable documentation, including throug hvarious medical methods. However, many healthcare professionals and other commentators consider medical age assessment to be ethically problematic. This paper presents a simplified and amended account of the main findings of a recent ethical analysis of medical age assessment in the asylum process commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Healthand Welfare. A number of ethical challenges related to conflicting goals, equality and fairness, autonomy and informed consent, privacy and integrity, and professional values and roles are identified and analysed. It is concluded that most of these challenges can be met, but that this requires a system where the assessment is sufficiently accurate and where adequate safeguards are in place. Two important ethical questions are found to warrant further analysis. The first is whether asylum seekers’consent to the procedure can be considered genuinely voluntary. The second is whether and how medica lage assessments could affect negative public attitudes towards asylum seekers or discriminatory societal views more generally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 132, no 3, p. 815-823
Keywords [en]
Ageassessment, Asylumseekers, Ethicalissues, Unaccompanied minors
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Medical Ethics
Research subject
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334381DOI: 10.1007/s00414-017-1730-3ISI: 000431031800025OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-334381DiVA, id: diva2:1159564
Funder
Swedish National Board of Health and WelfareAvailable from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-23 Last updated: 2018-07-30Bibliographically approved

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Furberg, Elisabeth

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