The Eurodac Supervision Coordination Group has issued a report on their second coordinated inspection of the large-scale database that contains fingerprints of asylum seekers in order to assist asylum procedures in the European Union. The Supervision Group, which is composed of data protection authorities of each of the participating States and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), has investigated how the database has been used in practice over the last two years. Two main issues were scrutinised: the right of information of asylum seekers and the methods for assessing the age of young asylum seekers in view of their registration in the system. The report presents both the findings and the recommendations based on the replies to the questionnaire received from all the Member States. The Group hopes that the report will usefully contribute to the ongoing revision of the Eurodac and Dublin Regulations.
Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "I very much welcome this second inspection report which shows the effectiveness of the coordinated supervision and addresses two subjects of great importance for asylum seekers in practice".
Information provided to asylum seekers
The results of the evaluation exercise show that the information provided to asylum seekers about their rights and the use of their data tends to be incomplete, in particular as regards the consequences of being fingerprinted, and the right of access to and rectification of their data. The information provided also differs widely among Member States and great differences have been observed as regards the practices for asylum seekers and illegal immigrants - the latter generally receiving less information, and in some cases, no information at all.
The Supervision Group therefore calls on:
Assessment of the age of young asylum seekers
According to the Eurodac Regulation, asylum applicants over the age of 14 have to be fingerprinted when they request asylum. Asylum authorities may be confronted with difficulties in determining the age of a child who carries no reliable identity document. Various methods, including medical examination of different kind and types, are therefore used to assess the age of young asylum seekers.
The Supervision Group makes recommendations in this area which include the following:
the Eurodac Regulation, currently under revision, should be modified to impose fingerprinting asylum seekers only from 18 years old on.