People are sharing pictures of their younger selves to debunk these horrible front pages about refugees


On Monday fourteen teenage child refugees arrived in the UK from the 'Jungle' camp in Calais, as part of a fast-track system to resettle minors ahead of the demolition of the site by French authorities.

The Telegraph has reported that Home Office documents show that if a refugee does not have a birth certificate, a screening officer can certify them as a child based on "physical appearance" or "demeanour".

The document says that refugees "should be treated as an adult if their physical appearance/demeanour very strongly suggests that they are significantly over 18 years of age", while "all other applicants should be afforded the benefit of the doubt and treated as children".

However a guide for Home Office officials also says all relevant information and evidence should be considered.

The story was the subject of the Daily Express andthe Daily Star's front pages on Tuesday, which described the refugees in the online version of the story as "all-male" and "hulking"

Picture:Picture: Express/Star

The Express story also used a quote from a Ukip MEP Jane Collins, who said she:

hoped the British public weren’t providing refuge for adult economic migrants trying to pull a fast one.

A Home Office spokesperson was quoted in the Telegraph story as follows:

These vulnerable children, aged between 14 and 17, were transferred to the UK under the care of Home Office staff, with the support of volunteers from specialist NGOs and charities. They will join their families in the UK as quickly as possible over the coming days.

People responded to the Express and Star by taking to social media and sharing photos of themselves as adolescents, to remind people how mature teenagers can look:

indy100 contacted the Home Office for comment. The Home Office clarified that they worked closely with French Authorities to ensure that the cases applying to come to the UK qualify under the Dublin Regulation.

The Home Office also clarified it uses a number of determining factors to gather information on age, including clear documentary evidence provided by the individual supporting their claim, that the individual has been subject to a Merton compliant age assessment by a local authority and been assessed to be 18 years of age or over, which must be signed off by two social workers, alongside physical appearance and demeanour.

For more information on asessing age, you can see a document here.

More: Lily Allen went to Calais to raise awareness and the right-wing press fell right for it

More: This is what happened when Jeremy Corbyn went to Calais to talk to refugees

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