Aspects of a Border

Story of Ben

It’s Ben I’m speaking with. He is from Angola and tells his story as follows:

“In the last year, I finally reached Lesvos. I applied for asylum, telling them I was 17 years old. They took me to a police officer and he asked for my information”. Ben says the officer gave him a piece of paper, telling him to write his name, country, and date of birth on it, and he did so. Afterward, the officer asked him and another boy (who claimed to be 15 years old) to leave the room.

Later, he comes with the register sheets and says they are yours. After looking at the paper, Ben realizes that the date of birth is incorrect.

“It is incorrect”, he tells the police officer, “I am 17, not 20!”. But the officer says, “I will tell you how old are you. nobody is a minor here!” He complains but the officer forcefully knocks on the door and drives them away.

He has been fighting for his right for 1 year now. The asylum service considers him an adult. But he does not accept this. He was recently in the hospital and they took a bone test to determine his age!

They take an X-ray and then, in the presence of the social worker and immigration attorney, three doctors made him naked and try to determine his age by touching his body and genitals.

It has now been confirmed by doctors that he is 19 years old (A medical test cannot prove one’s age exactly!) and his case will be processed as an adult. He strongly disagrees with this statement. “The asylum service does not want to accept my age because the police officer wrote it incorrectly on purpose”, Ben told me.

He says, instead of asking me “what my problem is?”, “what do I want?” and “why I’m here?”, they just want to prove how old I am!

Leave a Reply