Following the concerns raised by corporate partners of the UK Border Agency, such as Chief Medical Officer and the Children’s Commissioners (see our first blog on this subject here
), the trail of dental x-rays for age assessment has been cancelled.
The agency was informed by the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) that the trail constitutes 'research' and that, as such, it requires the approval of a research ethics committee before it can proceed. No x-rays will take place until such time as we have the appropriate ethical approval. Given the questionable results of age assessment by use of x-rays we would hazard a guess that the agency will struggle to get approval.
More when we have it.
The UK Border Agency are planning to restart x-rays of child asylum seekers in order to establish their age. This process was originally dropped over three years ago due to the health risks of those being screened.
Upon this announcement the medical profession, immigration lawyers, and the UK children's commissioner objected to the re-start of this process. The children's commissions said that this is 'a clear breach of the rights of vulnerable children and young people and may, in fact, be illegal'. It was also said that to x-ray children in such circumstances might also constitute assault.
The medical profession warned against the use of checks involving potential harm from ionising radiation when there was no intention of clinical benefits. Also, the scientific evidence suggests that it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to determine the child's age from an x-ray.
Alison Harvey, general secretary of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, said in a letter to the Border Agency: "Age is disputed with a frequency that gives rise to the most grave concerns, and despite official acknowledgement that you cannot date-stamp a child, the Home Office continues to pursue the chimera of certainty in this area, to the most grave detriment of children who are subjected to doubt, to disbelief, detention and denial of services and now, it is proposed, to irradiation."
More when we have it.