Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro deleted a Facebook post he wrote claiming the World Health Organisation (WHO) was indoctrinating children.
He posted it last Wednesday and accused them of encouraging children to be gay and masturbate. He used this reasoning to dismiss the WHO’s recommendations on how to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the World Health Organization, whose advice on coronavirus some people want me to follow,” Bolsonaro wrote in the now-deleted Facebook post according to the South China Morning Post.
“Should we follow their education policy guidelines, too?” he added. “For children zero to four years old: satisfaction and pleasure when touching their bodies, masturbation… For children four to six years old: a positive gender identity… masturbation in early childhood, same-sex relations… Nine to 12 years old: first sexual experience.”
A similar message was posted by one of Bolsonaro’s advisers, Arthur Weintraub. Weintraub, who is currently serving as Brazil’s minister for education, tweeted that the WHO has guidelines encouraging children to be taught about masturbation.
The guidelines he’s referring to appear to come from a 2010 guide called ‘Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe’ which was published by Germany’s Federal Centre for Health Education, as well as the WHO’s European office.
Within the guide, there is a brief mention of how it is normal for children to touch themselves as they are discovering their bodies. However, it does not call on them to encourage this behaviour as claimed by both Bolsonaro and Weintraub. It is simply a smaller point made in a guide intended to help parents and educators on matters of sexual education.
Bolsonaro has been very critical of the WHO’s COVID-19 recommendations, saying that social distancing was unnecessarily ruining the economy. What’s more, he compared the virus to a “little flu”. The Brazilian president also recently fired the health minster Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who was pro-confinement.
As of May 1, Brazil has the tenth most COVID-19 cases in the world, with over 85,000 confirmed cases and more than 5,000 deaths.
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