[Greece] Teenage refugees in Greece are being labelled 'adults' if they have wisdom teeth

20 Jul 2017
International Business Times

The International Business Times, refers to the findings of the newly published "Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected" report, produced by Human Rights Watch, which states that refugee adolescent youth are being categorized as adult refugees, and in turn being deprived from necessities, such as education and other protective measures, due to a lack of proper assessment conducted by Greek authorities in the island of Lesbos.

In a very unorthodox fashion, authorities now categorize children based on their wisdom teeth, where children who still possess their wisdom teeth, are classified as adults, which is determined through the assessment protocol which involves the teenager to be examined by a dentist. This faulty assessment procedure is exemplified in the case of Akash, a 17 year old boy from Bangladesh who is now situated among a pool of adults within the Moria refugee camp, as authorities switched his age to 18, as a result of this practice. 

Eva Cossé, a  Human Rights Watch researcher, states that at times, dental visitations are concluded with inconclusive results, thus leading teenage refugees to be categorized as adults, regardless. Another practice being utilized is the determination of age through the measurement of bone density through the utilization of an X-Ray, which is deemed as problematic, due to the significant possibility of the practice omitting considerable factors while producing inaccurate results to render a decision regarding a teenager's age. 

Problematizations also emerge on the opposite end, as many teenagers are informed that unaccompanied refugee youth are placed in detention in centers or sent to police stations, thus dissuading many youth too seek refuge in the appropriate setting. 

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