VIENNA - On 1 June, the United Nations celebrates the Global Day of Parents. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to honour the role of parents and “their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.”
“Children deserve the loving care and protection of their parents. On the Global Day of Parents, ADF International wants to stress the important role of the family as the fundamental building unit of society. Unfortunately, we are increasingly witnessing international institutions, governments and courts trying to undermine this concept rather than protecting it,” said Paul Coleman, Senior Counsel for ADF International, directing the organization’s advocacy work at international institutions including the United Nations.
“Many states are interfering with the parent-child relationship, introducing new laws violating internationally protected family rights. The Global Day of Parents should remind us that in a free society, children are born to parents, not the government.”
Parental rights under threat
Recently, ADF International brought a leading case concerning family rights before the European Court of Human Rights. The German homeschooling family Wunderlich sought to exercise their parental right to educate their children themselves. However, Germany has prohibited homeschooling since 1918. To enforce this law, a group of more than 20 police officers and social workers stormed the family home in August 2013 and took the children with them.
“Petra and Dirk Wunderlich simply exercised their parental right to raise their children in line with their philosophical and religious convictions – something they thought they could do better in the home environment. International law protects the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children, and Germany should respect that,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International and lead counsel on the Wunderlich case. Although the children were brought back to their parents, the legal position remains uncertain.
“The Global Day of Parents is a good occasion to draw attention to the importance of the role of fathers and mothers. Their rights deserve to be safeguarded worldwide, for the good of the children and of society”, added Coleman.