Voters will not have the final say on a proposal to ban sexual education from Swiss primary schools and kindergartens. The committee says it decided to withdraw the initiative as its aims had been achieved.
“It put a check on the sexualisation of our children at an early age,” a statement said.
The group mentions five reasons for the withdrawal, including a growing awareness of the topic among the population, the closure of a centre of competence at a teacher’s training college and the removal of “pornographic material” from teaching aids.
Initially the committee wanted to introduce a nationwide ban on sexual education programmes for children under the age of nine. It particularly objected to the use of toy models of sexual organs.
Sexual education must be the responsibility of parents, the campaigners argued.
The controversy began more than three years ago in Basel. A group of parents, supported by members of several political parties, launched a formal initiative and handed in 110,000 signatures in 2013.
The committee says it will now set up an association to follow developments in schools and prevent what it calls “excesses”.
Barbara Berger, director of the foundation Sexual Health, says the withdrawal of the initiative has come as a surprise. She doubts the reasons of the promoters and denies their alleged accomplishments.
“Their main success was to cause a dispute but they probably realised that they didn’t have broad support among the population.”
Both chambers of parliament and the government had earlier this year recommended rejecting the initiative.
Berger discounts the claim of the promoters who refer to an unpublished opinion poll which apparently found a majority of the 1,168 respondents in favour of the initiative.
Over the past five years, 13 initiatives have been withdrawn by their promoters and more than 30 others failed to gather the necessary signatures within the allotted time, according to the Federal Chancellery.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch