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Bone tests. Photo supplied

Migrants: bone tests validated by French Constitutional Council

Bone tests will soon make it possible to determine the age of young migrants arriving in France.

Published: March 22, 2019, 7:53 am


    In the face of the migratory wave that is sweeping over Europe, France is taking steps to accurately establish the age of young migrants. In order to determine whether a migrant is a minor or an adult, the possible use of bone examinations of the hand and wrist have been controversial.

    Finally, on Thursday, March 21, the French Constitutional Council gave the go-ahead to the establishment of such an examination, reported public broadcaster France 3.

    While the Council recognised that such examinations “may involve a significant margin of error”, they considered that “it is up to the competent administrative and judicial authorities to give full effect to all the guarantees” provided for by law.

    This approval of the Constitutional Council should thus facilitate the task of the border police (PAF). The current law was notably attacked by a young Guinean as well as by the Union of magistrates and certain human rights associations.

    The Constitutional Council specified that a bone test can be ordered “only if the person in question does not have valid identity documents and if the age that the person alleges is not likely”.

    It can only intervene after “the informed consent of the person concerned has been obtained in a language he understands”.

    Finally, the adulthood of a person can not be deduced from his sole refusal to submit to a bone examination. Depending on whether the migrant is declared a minor or an adult, the future that is reserved for him is very different.

    In the first case, he will enjoy protection provided by the law. On the other hand, in the second case, it is the street that awaits him, or a return to the border.


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