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Age assessment of refugees: Is age a crucial factor?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to describe and examine age assessments within the Swedish Immigration Act and what age is given the most importance in the Swedish asylum process. It also surveys the age assessments of the countries I have compared and how they are affected by war or religion. The thesis focuses on the age assessment of children who seek asylum in Sweden: how this process works, how legal certainty is established in Swedish law, and other relevant legal instruments such as the Convention of the Child. Age is directly decisive for a person seeking protection in Sweden, which is why this is the starting point for this study. The thesis first describes the legal situation in Sweden and addresses various aspects regarding the age of children who seek Swedish asylum.

If asylum seekers are over 18 years old, meaning they are adults rather than children, this has a significant impact on the rights that they are granted; this gives asylum seekers an incentive to lie in order to be perceived as children. This could, however, also be explained by different ways of understanding the concept of age in different countries. How is the concept of age understood in Swedish migration law, and does this correlate with the asylum seeker’s understanding of age? Might there be variation between countries? The second part of the thesis is based on interviews with asylum-seeking people and attempts to understand how they systematically understand the concept of age.

I present a selection from certain countries to demonstrate differences in how they perceive age based on various factors. The results of the interviews and an assessment based on the opinions of several countries indicate that age is a construction that varies depending on the context. There is also variation between individuals, indicating that generalizable conclusions are difficult to draw. This does contribute, however, to an understanding of the complexity of establishing age, particularly when it comes to the crucial line between child and adult.

The study shows that there is some concern about the age of the children, but there are several reasons for doubting the stated age, such as cultural heritage, subjective understanding of age- related aspects and genes

My study shows that the difficulties that exist around a child's age have several explanations. Cultural heritage, subjective understanding of age, genetics and several other factors can affect

2

the view of age. It should also be noted that religion, war and peace are essential to the assessment, as it is clear in each country that both war and religion affect so-called social age and chronological age.

Keywords: children, unaccompanied children, subjective perception of age, asylum seekers, medical age determination.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 74
National Category
Law and Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-384236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-384236DiVA, id: diva2:1319449
Educational program
Master Programme in Religion in Peace and Conflict
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-03 Created: 2019-06-01 Last updated: 2019-06-03Bibliographically approved

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