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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homeschoolers in Botswana interrogated, in spite of International agreements

On September 3 of this year, an article was run on a site which I'll provide you a link to momentarily. Essentially, it tells the horrifying story of 4 homeschool families interrogated by secret police in Botswana. Why - because they are homeschooling, essentially for religious reasons. First, an excerpt from the article, found at the Home School Legal Defense Association's site:
Four families who reside in Mahalapye, Botswana face an uncertain future due to an increasingly tense standoff over the issue of homeschooling. The families, adherents of the Seventh Day Adventist church, homeschool because of their religious and philosophical convictions. Despite their sincerely-held religious beliefs and the inability of the court to find any social or educational problems with the children, they have nonetheless been ordered by the local court to enroll their children in public school or face unknown consequences. On September 10, a judge in Botswana is scheduled to decide their fate. Attorneys for the family are seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the magistrate court from taking any action against this family. HSLDA is asking for your help.

Estimates suggest that only a few hundred children are homeschooled in Botswana, a country of 2 million located just north of South Africa and that has acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Social workers cited the UN treaty as the primary reason for initiating the court action. On May 24, 2010 Judge I.T. Molobe, a magistrate court judge in Mahalapye, ordered the families to enroll their children in public school and to cease home education. The written decision also ordered the families to forfeit their teaching materials to the state; these were subsequently taken by the police in a raid in July of this year. On August 20, Principal Magistrate Judge Jennifer Chikate denied a stay pending the appeal and ordered the parents to appear before the court on September 10 to report their compliance with the order. If the parents do not comply by sending their children to public school, they face contempt charges, possible jail time, and/or stiff fines. The families have told HSLDA that they are determined to continue homeschooling.
“I Must Obey God”

“There is no way I will enroll my children in school under any circumstances,” Mr. Modimoothata told HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly. “I must obey God. The schools here are corrupt and teach my children things that go against our faith and our values. I cannot allow them to go to these schools.”

You can read the rest at:


At that page you'll also find links you can use to protest this ridiculous abuse. Please read the entire article and respond here, and on behalf of those being attacked.

Just for the sake of corroboration, here's a link to another article, September 10, from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, regarding attacks of parental rights in Botswana:


Just have a look at the final paragraph from their article:

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself states in Article 26 that parents have the prior right to choose the kind of education their children receive. In Article 18, paragraph 4 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Botswana is also a signatory, parents are expressly given the right to teach their children in conformity with their own convictions. In addition, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights states in Article 18 that the family is the custodian of moral values and so protects the instruction of children on the basis of religious conviction.

If you read the article, you'll find (as has happened repeatedly in the United States and elsewhere) that a judge has imposed his personal beliefs on these families. Once again, a legal system has determined what is "right" for children, claiming to know more about those children than their own families.

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the United Nations. Here is Article 26 from that all-important document. Have a look, homeschoolers!:

* (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
* (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
* (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

See that third paragraph? Pretty simple and incontrovertible, is it not? And note, Botswana is a signatory. That means that they agreed to the Declaration, and to abide by its principles. "Prior" means FIRST. Before governments, schools, administrators, children's services, teachers and teacher's unions - PARENTS have the first right to determine their children's education!

I believe in the Declaration of Human Rights, though it is clear that generally the U.N. has no power to enforce it. I certainly believe in a family's right to choose their children's education. And given that nearly every nation on Earth has signed this document, this right should be - well, universal by now.

Please note as well that the United States, Canada, England...even Germany, the most suppressive state in Europe regarding homeschooling, SIGNED THIS DOCUMENT!

Folks, I believe it's time we took the rights that we were promised. The U.N., and the Declaration were the result of WWII, when rights through much of the world were entirely eliminated, even to the point of mass murder. The U.N. and the Declaration were internationally agreed-upon efforts to protect nations and individuals, and their rights. As Article 26 clearly states, one of YOUR rights is to educate your own children at home, if you so see fit. Let's get together on this one. Given the abysmal failure of most public and private schools, homeschooling may well be the last, best hope for your children to receive any substantive and safe education. What is happening in Botswana has happened elsewhere, and will happen again and again. The only real protection homeschool can have in the future in safety in numbers, in volume, in noise, in a persistent and squeaky-wheel insistence that governments butt out of our children's educations, a place they never belonged in the first place.

What do you think? Your comments are invited.

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