German mother jailed for refusing government sex ed appeals to human rights court

Irene Wiens is currently serving a 43-day jail sentence for refusing the program for her children in 2006.
Thu Mar 17, 2011 - 4:43 pm EST

March 16, 2011 ( - The US-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has filed an appeal to the European Court of Human rights on behalf of a German woman imprisoned for refusing to submit her children to a government sex ed program that violates her religious convictions.

Irene Wiens is currently serving a 43-day jail sentence for refusing the program for her children in 2006.

Wiens and her husband Heinrich contend that a play that the children would have had to watch as part of the program, “Mein Köper Gehört Mir,” (My Body Is Mine) teaches a permissive view of human sexuality, telling children that pleasure is the standard for measuring if a practice is acceptable or not.  The German authorities reportedly claim that the course exists to prevent sexual abuse, something the Wiens argue has never been proven.

“Parents, not the government, are the ones ultimately responsible for making educational choices for their children, and jailing them for standing on this universal right is simply unconscionable,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska in a press release.

“Irene Wiens was well within her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights to opt to teach her children a view of sexuality that is in accord with her own religious beliefs, instead of sending them to four days of classes and an interactive play that she found to be objectionable.”

Kisak added that “these types of cases are crucial battles in the effort to keep bad decisions concerning parental rights overseas from being adopted by American courts.”

The first protocol of the European Convention on Human Right reads in part: “the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”

However, the European Court of Human Rights has already ruled that the Convention does not protect homeschoolers, a fact that does not bode well for the Wiens. In 2006, the Court sided with the German government against a homeschooling family, ruling that “parents may not refuse the right to education of a child on the basis of their convictions.” It added that the right to education “by its very nature calls for regulation by the State.”

The decision unleashed a new wave of persecution against Germans who resist the public education system, including the Wiens, who were assessed a fine when they decided to withhold their children from the government-mandated sexual education classes and substituted their own program.  When they refused to pay the fine, they were sentenced to jail. Heinrich Wiens served his sentence late last year.

ADF reports that it currently has four other cases of a like nature before the European Court of Human rights, and that Irene Wiens is the tenth Christian parent who has been imprisoned during the current wave of repression. Some families have fled Germany, including one that was recently granted political asylum in the United States due to the persecution experienced in Germany for their homeschooling practices.

Contact information:

Embassy of Germany in the United States
2300 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
Phone (202) 298-4000

Embassy of Germany in Canada
1 Waverley Street
Ottawa, ON, K2P 0T8
Tel.: 613-232-1101 Fax: 613-594-9330

Embassy of Germany in the United Kingdom
23 Belgrave Square
Phone: 020 7824 1300
Fax: 020 7824 1449

  christian, germany, homeschool