iMMO builds on the earlier experience of a number of these organizations, whose volunteers for many years performed forensic medical assessments. As of 1977 the Medical Assessment Group (‘Medische Onderzoeksgroep (MOG)’) of Amnesty International has been working. Physicians on a voluntary basis perform medical assessments of asylum seekers, investigating the causal relationship between the medical findings and the asylum seekers story. Prior to that a legal team judges whether the asylum seeker is entitled to protection under the provisions of the Refugee Treaty or the European Treaty on Human Rights. After this being established, one of the physicians performs the forensic medical assessment. In many instances these assessments proved to provide title for a positive decision regarding a staying permit. At the occasion of the operational start of iMMO MOG integrates in the new institution.
Besides this for 20 years the ‘Stichting Medisch Advies Kollektief (SMAK)’ also performs similar assessments by volunteers. Their field also comprises the re-evaluation of age assessments of underage asylum seekers. Pharos institution has produced many medical reports in the context of the asylum procedure. The organization grew a considerable forensic expertise in the field of migrant and asylum law and has produced research and publications in this field.
Most recent input originates from the project ‘Meldpunt Asielzoekers met Psychische Problemen (MAPP)’ of the organization ‘ASKV/Steunpunt Vluchtelingen’. This project ran from 2008 to 2010. Psychologists on a voluntary basis assessed asylum seekers with psychological problems. Asylum seekers who have been the victim of torture and other extreme violence may for several reasons have great difficulty to share their experiences. Limitations with regard to memory or focusing ability may be present. Besides these fear, shame and distrust play a major role. Often people try to forget or to be silent about their experiences. This complicates the care, reception and a due procedure for these individuals. The project knew the cooperation of several parties mentioned before.
The project MAPP ended at the end of 2010. SMAK had already decided to focus on the re-evaluation of age assessments of underage asylum seekers. At about the same time Amnesty International decided to work toward a new and more independent position of MOG. This resulted in the initiative of the founding partners in creating iMMO.