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Friday, 29 January 2010

Persecuted German homeschoolers granted asylum in USA

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides advocacy to defend the rights of parents to direct the education of their family, and to defend the freedom of families. They are also involved in political and media lobbying.

On their website today, there is news of a surprising case in which Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the political asylum application of Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, homeschool their children and have fled from Germany because of its draconian anti-homeschooling legislation. Judge Burnham said:
“Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution…therefore, they are eligible for asylum…and the court will grant asylum.”
See: Homeschooling Family Granted Political Asylum

Mike Donnelly, staff attorney and director of international relations for HSLDA said:
“This decision finally recognizes that German homeschoolers are a specific social group that is being persecuted by a Western democracy,”
Donnelly also pointed out:
“It is embarrassing for Germany, since a Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children. This judge understood the case perfectly, and he called Germany out. We hope this decision will cause Germany to stop persecuting homeschoolers,”
In Germany, homeschooling families face fines, and the threat of imprisonment. In November 2007, the German Federal High Court in Karlsruhe ruled that children of homeschooling parents could be taken into care because homeschooling constitutes child endangerment, and because the public has the right to be protected from "parallel societies" based on religion or worldview. Families who homeschool are likely to be visited by the Police who will "escort" their children to school.

One family did appeal to the European Court of Human Rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, but the Court refused to hear the case. The Court did agree that homeschooling was an exercise of protected parental liberties, but accepted the concerns of the lower German courts that homeschooling would create a parallel society - and that this was sufficient to override parental freedom.

Homeschooling was made illegal in Germany on 6 July 1938 when the Reichsschulgesetz (Reich School Legislation) was signed by Adolf Hitler and Reichsminister Rust.
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