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UN: Committee of the Rights of the Child's decision on the age assessment of unaccompanied minors in Spain

Input Provided By
Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
UN International Covenants ;
United Nations, Committee on the Rights of the Child [CRC], J.A.B. (Cameroon) v Spain, CRC/C/81/D/22/2017, 31 May 2019. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

J.A.B. is a Cameroonian national, who arrived to Ceuta on 23 April 2016. After the police interrogation, he was taken to an adult detention center in Ceuta and, later on, in the Madrid. When being in Madrid, he received a birth certificate sent by his family. He requested a passport at the Embassy of Cameroon. When awaiting for his original passport, the Embassy issued him a consular identify card showing he was minor.

After obtaining the card, he communicated the authorities he was minor and he refused to undergo medical tests to determine his age. With the support of the organisation, Fundacion Raices, he requested the recognition of his minority; his transfer to a minor reception center; the declaration of his vulnerability; and the assumption of his guardianship by the minor protection authorities. In addition to his situation of vulnerability, in January 2017 he was diagnosed with several diseases.

At the end of January 2017, the authorities issued a decree declaring him an adult based on the facts that the birth certificate couldn’t be assesses as it was a photocopy; the consular identity card was issued once he was already in Spain; and his refusal to undergo the medical tests. In April 2017, the authorities issued an administrative resolution of expulsion. J.A.B appealed such decision based on the lack of recognition of the validity of his original and official documents issued by this country of origin, being left unprotected.  

The Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the communication taking into account all the information provided by the parties and determined that:

  • The interest of the child should be a priority throughout the age assessment.
  • Identity documents must be considered authentic unless proven otherwise. Likewise, the majority must not be declared exclusively based on the person's refusal to undergo medical tests.
  • In the age assessment, the authorities should take into account, not only the physical aspect of the individual, but his/her psychological maturity. The evaluation should be based on scientific criteria, security and impartiality, taking into account the child's interest and gender considerations, and in case of uncertainty, granting the individual the benefit of the doubt, so that, in the hypothesis that it is a minor, it is treated as such.
  • The Committee considers that States parties should designate a qualified legal representative with adequate language skills for all young persons who claim to be minors, or recognize the representatives designated by them.


For more details on the case, please refer to the original document indicated below. 

Country of Decision
United Nations
Court Name
UN: Committee on the Rights of the Child [CRC]
Case Number
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Assessment of Application
Unaccompanied minors