'Teenager' Faces Eviction In Age Row


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May 9, 2004
Today, 01:14 am
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<CITE class=auth>An Iraqi refugee is facing eviction from his children's home
and possible deportation after he was judged to be an adult.

Rabar Hamad claims he is 16 years old but he has no documentation to prove his age.
Wigan Council, which has funded a place at a children's home for Rabar for the past 12 months, says two separate social workers have assessed him and judged that he is a 20-year-old man.
Rabar has been told he must leave his accommodation on Thursday as the council is no longer obliged to care for him.
A spokesman told Sky News:
"This individual has been treated as a minor and looked after at the local authority's expense for 12 months pending the outcome of assessments into his age.
"As an adult, responsibility for Rabar now rests with the Immigration Authority."
Last year an independent tribunal doctor agreed with the age Rabar claimed to be.
His supporters, including teaching staff at the school he has been attending, say the age assessment procedure has been inadequate.
English teacher Sally Hyman said:
"Rabar has had no proper physical assessment by the council. I have been a teacher for a long time and I am in no doubt that he is a child.
"He behaves like a child, he looks like a 16-year-old. And he is very confused about what's happening to him."
Rabar spoke to Sky News as he played football with his friends.
In broken English he said:
"I don't know what is happening. If I go back to Iraq I will be killed.
I am very upset."
According to Home Office statistics,
around 4200 unaccompanied minors arrived in Britain last year.
Some 987 have had their age disputed.
David Wood, strategic director for criminality and detention, said:
"We consider that establishing the correct age of an applicant is crucial in preventing abuse by adults posing as minors and in protecting children."
But experts agree that age assessment is not an exact science.
Former Children's Commissioner and paediatrician Al Aynsley-Green said: "There is a serious challenge here because there is no one method that will give a precise answer.
"There has to be a proper holistic approach to these cases by independent specialists who can take on board the advice of a wide range of people."