Applicants for asylum lost appeal on evidence claims when determining age

Supreme Court Sleep RapeThe Norwegian Supreme Court Building. Photo: Høyesterett

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Five Afghan asylum seekers have lost their appeals in the Supreme Court, which lays down the evidentiary requirement for determining age at the lowest level.

The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday clarifies that the general evidentiary requirement of probability should be used in such cases.

The five boys from Afghanistan applied for asylum in Norway between July 26 and October 1, 2015. All five stated that they were 15 to 16 years old. Following detailed assessments, including medical age examinations, the applications were rejected by the Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

Complaints to the Immigration Board (UNE) did go further. Both the UDI and UNE considered the five to be older than 18 years.

Won in the District Court
In the Oslo District Court in 2017, they received five arguments that there must be qualified probability before the immigration authorities can determine that a person is over 18, if the person himself declares to be a minor.

The Afghans received legal assistance from the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) for the case, which was appealed to the Court of Appeal, which was upheld by the state at UNE in April.

NOAS appealed to the Supreme Court, which has now ruled that the general evidentiary requirement for probability should apply. The court found that there was no basis for a subdued evidentiary requirement, even when the assessment took place in a child-sensitive perspective.

The Supreme Court emphasized that this is a well-regulated area of jurisdiction that has been the subject of difficult political balances, and where relatively recently, provisions have been introduced that provide increased protection for single minor asylum seekers.

The legislator’s clear premise has been that a general evidentiary requirement must be used as a result of the considerable risk of abuse of the rules.

Safety margins
Furthermore, it was heavily weighted that safety margins were consistently included in all assessments made.

One of the five Afghans has later converted to Christianity, and has been granted a residence permit in Norway on that basis.

Two of them were transported to Afghanistan, but have, according to the Supreme Court ruling, to have left the country. The last two are staying in an unknown place in Europe.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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