On March 4, 2019, an online edition Alt-Info released an article headlined “Georgian Dream submitted the Code on the Rights of the Child to the Parliament, based on which parents may be banned from shouting at their own children or pulling their ears, while preaching religious norms may be considered as providing harmful information to children.” Alt-Info claims that the Code on the Rights of the Child submitted to the Parliament for consideration bans parents from bringing up children in religious faith, because religious upbringing is supposed to encourage discrimination and is therefore prohibited by law.
Speaking about the Code at the joint committee sitting on March 4, Koba Davitashvili, former lawmaker, echoed Alt-Info’s claims, noting that there is a threat that bringing up children in religious faith may lead to seizing children from parents. Davitashvili’s remarks were shared by Beka Vardosanidze of the Georgian March in social network, causing strong outcry in the public.
The claims by Alt-Info and Koba Davitashvili as if the Code on the Rights of the Child considers bringing up children in religious faith to be an act encouraging discrimination and is therefore prohibited, are manipulative. The Code defines the information aimed to encourage discrimination as the information harmful to children. This term is mentioned only with respect to the content placed in print media and Internet and has nothing to do with upbringing of children by parents. Article 16 of the Code explains that parents have the rights to bring up children according to their own moral and religious views.
- What is meant under the information encouraging discrimination?
Article 3 of the Code on the Rights of the Child defines the terms used in the text and among them is the information harmful to a child.
Article 3: “Information harmful to a child – information encouraging violence, crime, discrimination. Also, information propagandizing alcoholic beverages, tobacco, drugs and gambling or containing detailed scenes of violence, murder and brutal treatment, or where self-justice is portrayed as a justified method for achieving or restoring lawfulness and justice.”
The term “information harmful to a child,” also implying the information encouraging discrimination, is mentioned in the Code only with respect to the content placed in print media and Internet. We meet this phrase only twice in the text:
“It is inadmissible to sell, gift and provide children access to such magazines, newspapers and other print media publications that are harmful to a child.”
“The issue of placing information that is harmful to a child on the Internet is regulated by the Georgian National Communications Commission.”
This term is not mentioned in respect of the relations between parents and children or their upbringing.
- The code explains that parents have the right to bring up children according to their own moral and religious views.
Article 16 on the freedom of religion, belief and conscience explains:
1. A child has the right to freedom of religion, belief and conscience.
2. Parents have the right to bring up children according to their own moral and religious views. Primary consideration of the child’s best interests is a fundamental right and a principle to be observed by parents and professionals working with a child, with consideration of his/her age, mental and physical development, etc.
It is worth noting that a purposeful disinformation campaign is underway against the Code on the Rights of the Child, which is used by certain groups for their own political interests. The Myth Detector has already written about disinformation spread against the Code. A protest rally was held outside the UN Office in Tbilisi on March 3, where Dimitri Lortkipanidze, director of the Primakov Georgian-Russian Public Center, and Levan Chachua, leader of the Georgian Idea party, demanded withdrawal of the Code from the Parliament.
See more disinformation on the Code on the Rights of the Child in earlier materials prepared by “Myth Detector”:
About the Code on the Rights of the Child
The Code on the Rights of the Child was developed by the Parliament’s Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, with the technical support of UNICEF. It accumulates all the key principles on the rights and freedoms of the child and introduces necessary mechanisms for their observation and fulfillment. The Code deems any form of discrimination inadmissible that is also guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards.
Prepared by Maiko Ratiani
Myth Detector Laboratory