On August 2, Facebook page “საქართველო უპირველეს ყოვლისა” (Georgia First of All) published a post, calling on the public for caution. The Facebook page claims that if parents refuse to accept COVID-19 testing and vaccination, their children will be taken away, adding that training sessions are now being held for 200 social workers, judges and other civil servants for this purpose. According to the post, training sessions for civil servants are being held with the financial support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In the end, the post also mentions Georgia’s Code on the Rights of the Child, noting that it will enter into force from September 1 and “all municipalities countrywide will meet it with trained staff.”
Information as if training sessions supported by UNICEF and USAID are being held for taking children away from their parents due to the latter’s refusal to accept COVID-19 testing and vaccination is disinformation. In fact, the Code on the Rights of the Child was developed and approved long before the coronavirus outbreak. Linking COVID-19 vaccination to the training is absurd, as the coronavirus vaccine has yet to be developed, whereas, vaccination is not mandatory under Georgian law.
1. Training sessions were held to train municipality representatives on the implementation of Georgia’s new Code on the Rights of the Child and they have nothing to do with COVID-19 vaccination and testing.
The online training session was held on July 27. Its program was developed by the Committee of Human Rights and Civil Integration, the Georgian Association of Social Workers, and UNICEF, with financial support from USAID. According to the information posted on the Parliament’s website, training of civil servants from 64 municipalities started on July 27 as part of the Code on the Rights of the Child. Social workers, coordinators of the Code, lawyers and other civil servants (employees of the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice, Internal Affairs as well as the Prosecutor’s Office) underwent training during the first stage of the project.
In its written comments sent to the Myth Detector, USAID Georgia clarified that the Code actually does not contain any provision on COVID-19 and, generally, immunization; further, the Parliament of Georgia approved it in September 2019, several months before the coronavirus outbreak.
According to UNICEF, the document will further promote children’s right to live and grow up in a family, where there are all necessary conditions for their harmonious development and welfare and where no violent methods of upbringing are used.
2. The Parliament of Georgia developed the Code on the Rights of the Child in 2019, long before the COVID-19 outbreak. The Code does not contain any provision on COVID-19 and, generally, immunization.
What is the Code on the Rights of the Child?
The Parliament of Georgia developed the Code on the Rights of the Child in 2019, long before the first cases of COVID-19 emerged. UNICEF provided technical assistance in the development of the Code. Hence, the Code cannot contain any provision on COVID-19 and, generally, immunization.
The main purpose of the Code is to create mechanisms that will ensure protection for children in Georgia, also introduce special assistance programs for families and ban any types of physical violence against children. The Code will enter into force from September 1.
The Code on the Rights of the Child and the activities of social workers have long been targeted by antiliberal and anti-Western groups. The Myth Detector has already covered this issue earlier.
- 5 Myths about the Code on Rights of the Child
- Myths by Georgia and World about Children’s Code and Juvenile Justice
- The claim that social worker institute aims to destroy family institute is groundless
COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be developed
Noteworthy that the issue of mandatory vaccination represents a speculation, because COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be developed. Moreover, vaccination is not mandatory under Georgian law.
About the source
“Georgia First of All” is an antiliberal Facebook page, which frequently spreads disinformation. The page frequently shares narratives spread by Levan Chachua, leader of Georgian Idea party, and Guram Palavandishvili, organizer of homophobic rallies. The page was involved in the campaign discrediting the protest rallies held outside the Parliament after the legislature voted down the constitutional amendments on transition to fully proportional electoral system. The Media Development Foundation (MDF) identified the page in its report released in December 2019.
This is not the first time “Georgia First of All” spreads disinformation related to COVID-19 pandemic. On August 2, it shared a video, claiming that the coronavirus does not kill. The video went viral on social media and was later removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19. Earlier, the same page linked COVID-19 to 5G technology; in April, it spread Russian blogger’s video containing disinformation.
Below are fake reports spread by Facebook page “Georgia First of All” that were spotted by the Myth Detector.
Prepared by Ana Ungiadze
Myth Detector Lab