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German authorities challenge custody of homeschooled children again

Summary

  • German authorities continue to interfere with Wunderlich family’s life
  • Courts acknowledged children’s wellbeing not harmed by homeschooling

FRANKFURT (22 February 2019) – Only a few weeks after the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the Wunderlich case, the family faces another lawsuit, initiated by the same German family judge who had ordered the removal of the children in 2013. The judge has now requested proof of the children’s school attendance despite the European Court acknowledging that it would not be appropriate to remove the children again as “it would have a greater impact on the children than being homeschooled by their parents.”

“The right of parents to direct the education of their children is a fundamental right, protected in international law. The Wunderlich family has experienced significant turmoil at the hands of the German authorities. In the end, the children were assessed as doing well. It is hard to understand why the German authorities persist in challenging the custody of the children. Why would anyone be interested in removing the children from their loving family home after German courts and even the European Court of Human Rights acknowledged that ‘the learning assessment had shown that the knowledge level of the children was not alarming and that the children were not being kept from school against their will,’” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International and lead counsel for the Wunderlich family.

Disappointment at the European Court of Human Rights

In January, the Fifth Section of the European Court of Human Rights handed down the judgment in the case of Wunderlich v. Germany. In its decision, the Court ruled that there had not been a violation of the family’s rights when more than 30 police officers and social workers raided their home in 2013 and forcefully removed the children from their parents. Since then, the family has been embroiled in legal struggles seeking redress for this violation of their right to private family life.

After courts in Germany ruled in favour of the government, the European Court of Human Rights agreed to take up the case in August 2016. The Court ruled against the German family, disregarding their right to private family life. The family is currently considering bringing the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the highest level of the Court.

Find more information on the case here.

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