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Homeschooled family back in court in Germany

Summary

  • Wunderlichs face custody challenge again
  • Children summoned to court for hearing

DARMSTADT (13 June 2019) – Tomorrow, on 14 June 2019, the Wunderlich family are expected at court in Darmstadt, Germany. Only weeks after the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in January, the family received another request by a German court to prove the children’s school attendance. The lawsuit was initiated by the same German family judge who was involved in the removal of the children in 2013. The two younger children, still minors, have been called to court for a hearing. The children and their parents will be heard in two separate hearings over two days. Due to concerns over bias of the judge, a new judge was assigned to the case.

“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 its 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. At the beginning of April, the Wunderlich family asked the Court to refer their case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. They now await a response from the highest level of the Court.

“It is frustrating that we are faced with this additional challenge in Germany concerning the custody of our two youngest children. The children are happy and healthy and their level of education is good, as was also recognized by the European Court of Human Rights in its judgment in January. The persistence of the authorities in trying to remove them from our care is shocking,” said Dirk Wunderlich, the father of the four children.

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