Croatia condemned for homophobic textbooks

The European Committee of Social Rights, which monitors compliance with the Council of Europe’s European Social Charter, ruled Aug. 11 that Croatia’s sex-education curriculum discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

The committee said parts of the curriculum “stigmatize homosexuals and are based upon negative, distorted, reprehensible and degrading stereotypes.”

The case against Croatia was filed in 2007 by the London-based International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, and Zagreb’s Center for Education, Counseling and Research.

The complaint said the state-sponsored sex-education program TeenStar teaches that condoms do not prevent HIV and STDs, that gay relationships are “deviant” and that stay-at-home mothers make for better families.

“This is an extremely important decision because it is the first time that an international human rights body has addressed a complaint on the issue of sex education in schools and articulated detailed standards on countries’ obligation to provide accurate and science-based sex education,” said Christina Zampas, regional manager and senior legal adviser for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights.


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