A home-schooling family from Germany has asked the European Court of Human Rights to refer their case to the Grand Chamber – the top human rights court in Europe.
In January, the Fifth Chamber ruled that the Wunderlich family’s rights had not been violated in 2013 when more than 30 police officers and social workers raided their home and forcefully removed the children from their parents.
The children have since been returned, but the family have taken legal action to redress the injustice they suffered and to ensure they don’t face further sanctions in Germany for home-schooling their children.
In this latest development, the family are seeking to bring their case to the highest level of the Court.
Father Dirk Wunderlich said, ‘The previous ruling was very disheartening for our family and the many families affected by this in Germany. After years of legal struggles, it was extremely frustrating for us and our children.
‘It is upsetting that the European Court of Human Rights did not recognise the injustices we suffered at the hands of the German authorities.
‘We are hopeful that the Grand Chamber will see the ways we tried, for many years, to engage with the authorities, and the completely disproportionate action they ultimately took.’
Mike Donnelly, international home-schooling expert and Director of Global Outreach for the Home School Legal Defense Association, said, ‘The European Court of Human Rights must do the right thing to protect families.
‘It is unconscionable that a human rights court would justify taking children by force from their family for no reason other than home-schooling.’
Robert Clarke is Director of European Advocacy for ADF International and lead counsel for the Wunderlich Family. He said, ‘Despite the right of parents to direct the education of their children being protected in international law, the Court ruled that the dawn raid on the family home was neither “particularly harsh (nor) exceptional”.’
He added: ‘We will continue to support the Wunderlich family as they seek affirmation of their rights at the highest level of the European Court of Human Rights.’