On April 17, 2018, an online edition Georgia and the World released an article titled “The UN issues an order on sexualizing five-year-old children,” which is about UNESCO’s revised edition of the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. According to the article, the Guidance abolishes parental rights, demoralizes children and “imposes depraved ideology of homosexuals on them.” In addition, according to the article, “the comprehensive recommendations endorsed by the Americans” oblige kindergarten and school teachers to teach children about “gender ideology of homosexuals widespread in the West and their perverted sexual practice.”
The material released by Georgia and the World represents disinformation. UNESCO’s revised edition of the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education is non-binding in character and does not have the force of an international normative instrument. Its main objective is to build teacher preparedness and enhance institutional capacity to provide good quality sexuality education. The Guidance does not abolish parental rights; on the contrary, it focuses on higher parental involvement and is in full compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Geworld.ge refers to Russian-language web portals as its primary source and among them is e-news.su, which supports the so called “independence” of Donbas.
Fact 1. The Guidance developed by UNESCO does not abolish parental rights.
On January 10, 2018, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a revised edition of the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, which offers the countries research-based recommendations for effective implementation of sexuality education programs. The Guidance is centered on the best interest of the young person and enables national authorities to design comprehensive curricula that will have a positive impact on young people’s health and well-being.
The claim by Georgia and the World that the Guidance abolishes parental rights is a lie because the document emphasizes for multiple times the importance of parental involvement in the development and introduction of curricula. Chapter 7 of the Guidance provides characteristic of effective curriculum development, which envisages the involvement of parents and family members along with other stakeholders in organizing, piloting, implementing and improving the content of sexuality education.
In addition, the Guidance is in full compliance with a number of international treaties and documents, among them the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Fact 2. The UNESCO Guidance is voluntary and non-binding in character and does not have the force of an international normative instrument.
The claims by Georgia and the World that the Guidance obliges kindergarten and school teachers to teach children about “gender ideology of homosexuals” are groundless. The Guidance is non-binding; it is completely voluntary and represents not a detailed package of recommendations, but a framework based on the best practices that will assist decision makers in developing and introducing quality sexuality education programs. As for “the gender ideology of homosexuals,” the comprehensive sexuality education involves eight topics, including gender-related issues. School-based gender education involves teaching children about the following issues:
- The Social Construction of Gender and Gender Norms
- Gender Equality, Stereotypes and Bias
- Gender-based Violence
Teaching gender-related issues has nothing to do with homosexuality. Geworld.ge’s use of the terms “gender ideology of homosexuals” and “their perverted sexual practice” aims at fueling up negative sentiments towards the West.
Fact 3. The Guidance does not “demoralize” children and does not impose “depraved ideology of homosexuals” on them.
The claims by Georgia and the World that the UNESCO Guidance imposes “depraved ideology of homosexuals” on children are manipulative. The Guidance defines comprehensive sexuality education as “a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality.”
The comprehensive sexuality education does not aim at “demoralizing children”. It aims “to equip children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to: realize their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider how their choices affect their own well-being and that of others.”
Russian-language sources of Geworld.ge’s article
A material identical to the article released by Geworld.ge on April 17 was posted on Russian web portal e-news.su on April 10. The website uses a hashtag on its logo Save Donbas People from Kiev Nazis Army. In turn, e-news.su refers to the article released by economist Yevgeny Satanovsky on zen.yandex.ru on April 9. Earlier on March 23, similar materials were released by websites kramola.info and russianmothers.ru.
Propagandist platforms actively utilize deflective or source-concealing model in order to spread disinformation. This model implies hiding initial source of the message. As a result, the the receiver perceives the information as coming from direct sources and does not associates it with the initial source. The goal is to hide the primary source of the message, create high degree of credibility for both message and apparent source.
Prepared by Guram Mamphoria
Myth Detector Lab