P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Michael Farris Jr.|
|April 11, 2017||(540) 338-5600|
German Homeschoolers Appeal to Human Rights Court
April 11, 2017—Purcellville, VA
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) are filing written submissions to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on April 13 on behalf of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich and their four children in Wunderlich v. Germany. The Wunderlich family has faced harsh penalties for homeschooling in Germany. HSLDA and ADF contend that Germany’s treatment of this family violates their basic human rights.
HSLDA and ADF filed an application with the ECHR in 2015 asking the court to hold Germany accountable under its international human rights obligations. After the court ordered Germany to respond, the German government claimed that homeschooling is an abuse of parental rights.
HSLDA and ADF are filing their final response to Germany this week with the hopes that the ECHR will decide in favor of the Wunderlichs.
“With this case, the court will be able to hold Germany accountable for this violation and send a message to other countries that such violence against families is unacceptable,” said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director of Global Outreach. “Sovereign nations have a responsibility to pass laws for their citizens, but there are certain human rights norms that should not be violated, like the right of parents to direct the education of their children.”
The Wunderlichs made international news when German authorities forcibly entered their home in 2013, seizing their children and placing them in a group home. The Wunderlichs regained custody of their children on the condition that they send their children to a state school—which they did for a year before returning to homeschooling.
“Our youngest daughter was only four years old when the authorities broke into our home and took the children without warning,” Dirk Wunderlich recalled. “She could not stop crying for 11 days.”
“The right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is a fundamental right protected in all of the major human rights treaties,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International, during a media background briefing. “Germany has signed up to these treaties and yet continues to ignore its obligations with devastating consequences.”
Donnelly agreed, saying countries that prohibit homeschooling demonstrate totalitarian behavior. “Such policy should not be considered acceptable in free, democratic, and pluralistic societies.”
“A finding in favor of the family will not be a final victory for German parents who wish to homeschool,” Donnelly said. “It will, however, send a strong message to Germany and other countries in Europe that terrorizing homeschooling families by threatening them or seizing their children will not be tolerated.”
To learn more about the Wunderlich story, visit www.hslda.org/wunderlich.