University Pressured to Stop Dental Age Analysis of Asylum Seekers Skip to content
Jóna Þórey Pétursdóttir Student Council President

University Pressured to Stop Dental Age Analysis of Asylum Seekers

University of Iceland students are protesting their school’s practice of dental age analysis on young asylum seekers, RÚV reports. The school shouldn’t be conducting border patrol for the Directorate of Immigration, says Jóna Þórey Pétursdóttir, President of the University of Iceland’s Student Council, nor participating in a process that can have negative consequences for young people.

Age affects asylum decision

The University of Iceland signed a one-year service contract with the Directorate of Immigration in March of last year to provide age analysis of young people who come to Iceland to seek asylum. Dental analysis is one method used by the university to determine the age of asylum applicants.

The Directorate of Immigration conducts dental age analysis on asylum seekers in Iceland when it is unclear whether or not they are under 18 years of age. If they are under 18, they are automatically granted asylum, whereas if they are over 18, they may be deported.

Immoral and inaccurate, students say

Nearly 200 staff and doctoral students at the university protested the practice last year and yesterday a student protest was held at the university. Jóna Þórey says the students are simply adding their voices to human rights organisations and scientific associations around the world, which assert that dental age analysis is both immoral and inaccurate.

“But beyond that, we believe that the University of Iceland shouldn’t be in this position, this border patrol, and participate in a process that possibly has a negative impact on asylum seekers’ case proceedings, those who come here in search of a better life,” Jóna says. “These are minors, these are children.”

Decision made this week

The University Council of the University of Iceland will meet this week to decide whether to renew the service contract. All of its members except one approved the contract last year. Jóna hopes for a different outcome this year.

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