Amid all the furore of the state of the Pournara migrant facility this past week, the delicate issue arose of questioning whether all migrants who claim to be minors are in fact under 18 and deserving of special treatment under laws relating to the rights of the child.

In a world where everyone wants to do right by refugees and migrants, especially minors who are in danger of being sexually exploited or trafficked as slave labour, it’s not often that someone drops a truth bomb.

During a House committee meeting on Monday Disy MP Rita Superman said migrants claiming to be underage should undertake a medical age test to determine their actual age, as some of them might in fact be adults trying to take advantage of the system.

She cited an incident where one man with a shaved head claimed to be a minor but his hair when it began to grow was white. She also gave the example of Sweden, where more than 80 per cent of unaccompanied minors turn out to be adults.

This, Superman said, is due to the fact that children are treated more leniently within the system. She also said that arrivals of alleged minors had increased sharply following the high number of refusals in the asylum applications of adults.

Although there are those who might view her comments as pretty unwoke, Superman is not just another opportunistic Cypriot MP. She was head of the police anti-trafficking unit for more than 10 years and has received human rights awards and accolades for her work in protecting genuine minors from predatory adults and pretend adults.

According to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child: ‘Anyone claiming to be a child should be treated as such’. Other international guidelines say the benefit of the doubt principle must be applied through age assessment procedures which must treat the person as a child at all times, which does complicate matters.

The rules go on about dignity, appropriateness of procedures, invasiveness, consent of the child etc, preferring non-medical methods of age assessment and medical assessments only as a last resort.

But why should unaccompanied minors be allowed to refuse age testing while children living in this country are forced to undergo invasive medical tests just to go to school, and teens must medically prove they are not diseased to go to a nightclub?

Where are their rights when it comes to medical invasiveness, consent and dignity? If little children must go through an invasive medical intervention to prove they are not infected with a virus, then unaccompanied minors, who are all teenagers and mostly male, can put up with an age test. It’s in their own interest after all to receive the treatment they are entitled to.

If any alleged unaccompanied minor refuses to undergo a medical assessment, then they should be treated as an adult and processed accordingly, because logically, only someone with something to hide would actually refuse.