According to the Committee,
The author claims to be a victim of a violations of the Convention because he suffered discrimination on the basis of his status as an unaccompanied foreign minor. He would not have been in a situation of such vulnerability and unable to apply for asylum if he had been accompanied by his family, for in that case his application would have been authorized, or if he had been an adult, for in that case he would not have needed authorization.
(par.13.6) The Committee considers that the age determination procedure undergone by the author, who claimed to be a child and provided evidence to support this claim, was not accompanied by the safeguards needed to protect his rights under the Convention. Given the circumstances of the present case, in particular the fact that he was not accompanied by a representative during this procedure and the fact that the State party rejected as evidence the documents provided by the author, including his passport, without clearing up any doubts with the consular authorities of Côte d’Ivoire, the Committee is of the view that the best interests of the child were not a primary consideration in the age determination procedure undergone by the author, contrary to articles 3 and 12 of the Convention
(par.13.9) The Committee considers that the State party failed to respect the author’s identity by rejecting as evidence the birth certificate and passport submitted by the author, without verifying the information they contained with the authorities of his country of origin. Consequently, the Committee finds that the State party violated article 8 of the Convention.
In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Ensure that all procedures for determining the age of young persons claiming to be minors are in line with the Convention and, in particular, that in the course of these procedures: (i) the documents submitted by the young person concerned are taken into consideration and, if issued or authenticated by the relevant State authority or embassy, accepted as genuine; and (ii) the young person concerned is assigned a qualified legal representative or other representatives without delay and free of charge, any private lawyers chosen to represent the young person are recognized and all legal and other representatives are allowed to assist the young person during the age determination procedure;
(b)Ensure that young unaccompanied asylum seekers claiming to be under 18 years old are assigned a competent guardian as soon as possible to enable them to apply for asylum as minors, even if the age determination procedure is still pending;
(c)Develop an effective and accessible redress mechanism that allows young unaccompanied migrants claiming to be under 18 years old to apply for a review of any decrees of majority by the authorities in cases where the age determination procedure was not accompanied by the safeguards needed to protect the best interests of the child and the right of the child to be heard;
(d)Provide training to immigration officers, police officers, members of the Public Prosecution Service, judges and other relevant professionals on the rights of asylum-seeking and other migrant children and, in particular, on the Committee’s general comments Nos. 6, 22 and 23.
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