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April 3, 2014

Council of Europe report threatens homeschooling

Parliamentarians conflate parallel societies with religious freedom

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A report on the “protection of minors against excesses of sects” from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) calls out homeschooling as a practice that should be restricted because of the danger of parallel societies and religious sectarianism. Rapporteur Rudy Salles from France speaks for the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: “The Committee … is of the opinion that more measures must be taken at national and European level to counter the excesses of sects which affect minors.” Among other things, the report calls upon all 47 member States to “make sure that compulsory schooling is enforced and ensure strict, prompt, and effective monitoring of all private education, including home schooling” to “counter the excesses of sects which affect minors.”

A coalition formed to oppose the report and its accompanying resolution call them “fatally flawed” and note that the documents “contravene human rights standards.”

“The Salles report and resolution contain sweeping generalizations, vague and unsupported allegations, and one-sided information from biased sources that constitute a blueprint for discrimination against parents and their children associated with religious minority faiths,” the coalition states on its website.

Advocates of religious freedom in Europe and around the world have joined together to oppose the Salles report. The International Religious Freedom Roundtable, a multi-faith association of scholars, religious leaders, human rights advocates and practitioners, sent a letter to PACE President Anne Brasseur on March 31st expressing deep concern about the report. The joint letter attracted a total of 64 signatures from American and European organizations and individuals, including HSLDA.

Michael Donnelly, Director of International Affairs at HSLDA asks friends of homeschooling and religious freedom to make their voice heard.

"Please take a moment to sign the coalition's petition to help stop the proposed legislation at the Council of Europe and share with others you know," Donnelly asks. "The Salles report poses a serious threat to religious freedom and goes too far as to undermine a parent's right to choose to homeschool their child on the basis of their religious convictions, a right that is clearly protected by the European Convention and other human rights treaties."

 Resources

Read the Alliance Defending Freedom’s analysis of the Salles report.

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