Saturday, 31 March 2012

State abuse?

There is something deeply shocking about the proposals from the UKBA (UK Borders Agency) to take dental X-rays of asylum seeking young people in order to determine if they are children or adults.

I don't know enough about anatomy to know if the technique is reliable, but I do know that X-rays can have very harmful side effects and should be used on people only under medical supervision and if clinically strictly necessary.

I see that on this issue I am in good company. All Four UK Children's Commissioners, the medical and dental professions, the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and the former chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, have all warned that such checks are potentially harmful and may, in fact, be an illegal violation of children and young people's rights.

The UKBA is under a statutory duty to safeguard children and promote their welfare. It is intolerable that the agency should arrogantly cast aside its responsibilities. Administering X-rays without medical supervision could be an assault, even if the person in question has 'consented' to the procedure. I would like to see any public official found to have irradiated a child or young person in this way made to face the full force of the law.