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3 February 2016
In December 2015, the Asylum Information Database (AIDA) has presented its fifth legal briefing, entitled: "Detriment of the doubt: Age assessment of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children".
Age assessment is of special concern to SCEP when it pertains to separated children. The AIDA briefing paper makes a reference to the SCEP position paper on age assessment.
Under international and European law, Member States are obliged to protect children's rights and to establish comprehensive child protection systems. The briefing has identified the main legal principles governing the treatment of children in the asylum procedure, namely the 'best interest of the child' and the 'benefit of the doubt'. The briefing further looks at examples of how these key legal principles have been interpreted in different national procedures, assessing the priority and weight awarded to medical examinations, as well as the treatment of alleged child asylum seekers throughout the age determination procedure. The conclusion is that the practical implementation of the States' obligations leaves worrying protection gaps.