Brazil’s president has claimed he is not following directives from the World Health Organisation because they promote “masturbation” for children under the age of four.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, 65, who has been widely criticised for his criticism of social isolation as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19, posted the bizarre claims on social media before quickly deleting them.
Bolsonaro reportedly wrote on his official Facebook page: “This is the World Health Organization (WHO) who many say I must follow in the coronavirus case.
“Should we also follow their guidelines for educational policies too?: For children from 0 to 4 years of age: Satisfaction and pleasure upon touching their own body, *masturbation*.
“Expressing their needs and desire, for example, in the context of ‘playing doctor’. Children have sexual feelings in their early infancy.”
He added that for children aged between four and six years old the WHO says they “have a positive gender identity. Enjoyment and pleasure upon touching their own body; masturbation in early childhood.”
And Bolsonaro wrote for youngsters aged between 9 and 12 the WHO says they “have their first sexual experience”.
The guide reportedly cited by Bolsonaro was published in 2010 by the Federal Centre for Health Education with the European arm of the WHO.
The text is aimed at parents to help them educate their children. The WHO says that children aged 2 or 4 years old are curious about their bodies and being to notice they are different from others.
As they are curious they begin to touch their sexual organs and want to show them to other children or adults, according to the WHO. However, the guide does not say that parents should encourage their children to do this, but that they should speak to them about the phase and tell them it is normal.
In the column “give information about”, the WHO recommended that parents speak to their children, telling them that “liking physical contact is common”.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly criticised the WHO since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, saying the organisation’s Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus “is not a doctor, it’s like if the president of Caixa (a Brazilian bank) weren’t from economics”.
Ghebreyesus is a microbiologist and internationally recognised malaria researcher who served as Minister of Health of Ethiopia from 2005 to 2012.
Brazil has suffered 79,685 cases of COVID-19 and 5,513 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University.
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