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Spain using bone biometrics to determine migrants’ ages

Spain using bone biometrics to determine migrants’ ages

The way some biometric systems are being used to determine the age of African migrants and refugees is being criticized in Spain.

A representative of the Spanish Network for Immigration and Refugee Assistance told local news outlet La Provincia that the government should not be using Western standards when estimating a minor’s age using biometrics.

Using radiological means to analyze the hand and wrist bones apparently is acceptable, and, in fact, not all people are tested by their bones. But different criteria are needed when examining Western and African subjects, advocates have said.

Also coming under scrutiny are facial recognition scans in reception centers in the Canary Islands, which are held by Spain and located off the coasts of Morocco and Western Sahara in northwest Africa.

Officials want to move as many people off the island as possible and part of the processes is determining the ages of anyone suspected of being a minor. According to La Provincia’s reporting, there are 4,800 known minor migrants in government facilities.

Advocates for the would-be-immigrants want anyone performing age tests to guarantee that they will use “non-Western standards.” What alternatives are being requested is not clear in local reporting.

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