Norway is notorious for human rights infringements, in particular when it comes to family and children's rights. This has been proved by the case of Silje Garmo, a Norwegian woman who was granted asylum in Poland after she escaped unjustified intrusion into her family life by the Child Welfare Services – Barnevernet. This case was the main topic of a meeting in Strasburg visited by politicians, experts and representatives of social organisations from different countries brought together under the Council of Europe. Ordo Iuris representatives presented the main assumptions of the report on systemic human rights infringements associated with Barnevernet.
The event was held during the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It was organised by Valeriu Ghiletchi, Vice-President of the Moldavian Parliament during the 2014-2019 term, and Pavel Ungaryan, a Ukrainian MP and initiated by Jan-Aage Torp from Kristen Koalisjon Norge. Valeriu Giletchi is the author of a report adopted by the European Committee of Social Rights which presents a critical view of the oppressive Barnevernet system. The document, which reverberated in the entire Europe, was the fruit of a high-profile case of the Romanian-Norwegian Bondariu family whose five children were seized and placed in three different foster families, as it turns out, without reasonable grounds. The report by the Moldavian politician helped the Polish government issue a favourable decision in the case regarding Silje Garmo – a Norwegian citizen who obtained asylum in Poland together with her daughter. The said politician participated in the last year’s Human Dimention Implementation Meeting organised in Warsaw by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The Strasburg event was attended by Ordo Iuris representatives – Jerzy Kwaśniewski, Esq., the President of the Institute, Filip Wołoszczak, Esq., from the Proceedings Intervention Centre and Bartosz Zalewski, Legal Counsel from the Analysis Centre. Kwaśniewski discussed actions taken by Ordo Iuris in public debate on Barnevernet and described how the Institute helps people who have experienced unjustified interventions by the institution.
It was the first public presentation of the assumptions listed in the report on Norwegian Barnevernet produced by the Ordo Iuris expert team. The report demonstrates the legal basis and practice employed by the authority compiled in the course of studies which lasted for many months and were partly confined to the realm of documents and analyses of dozens of international and Norwegian court rulings but also included a visit in Oslo incorporating a number of meetings with the affected families, experts and local social activists. A discussion followed the presentation to provide an opportunity to consult the main arguments proposed in the report with experts distinguished in this field. Valeriu Giletchi explicitly emphasised the importance of the report prepared by Ordo Iuris, claiming that only international pressure may convince Norwegian authorities to change the family policy and reform Barnevernet.
Filip Wołoszczak outlined the history of the asylum proceedings carried out on behalf of Silje Garmo. The Republic of Poland granted asylum to the Norwegian and her daughter owing to the fact that their basic rights guaranteed by international acts were infringed by Norwegian authorities. The Ordo Iuris Institute helped the Norwegian in seeking asylum. In addition, the Institute’s representatives had the chance to listen to a debate held during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on implementing the provisions of the controversial Istanbul Convention which promotes ideological solutions disguised as a tool for combating domestic violence.
“The rights of families and children are repeatedly and gravely infringed in Norway. As has been shown by the Silje Garmo case, the horror of families whose life is unjustly and profoundly interfered with through Barnevernet can eventually lead to a happy ending. It’s good that such cases are discussed on an international level” – said Filip Wołoszczak, Esq.
The English version of the report prepared by Ordo Iuris will be published in the coming weeks. It is the first such a thorough analysis of Barnevernet activity from the point of view of the international human and children’s rights system.
· In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of discussion about how to overcome the demographic crisis.
· Many commentators see solutions to the problem in political and social programs.
· The Ordo Iuris Institute and Collegium Intermarium are organizing an international scientific conference to present the cultural aspects of the demographic crisis and possible measures in this area to improve the situation.
· The Council of the European Union has decided on the signing and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. The EU is expected to sign the Agreement itself in the coming months.
· Two Norwegians have been detained and questioned by police in Warsaw, in connection with a European Arrest Warrant issued by Norwegian authorities.
· The reason for the Norwegian children's agency Barnevernet's interest in the family was allegations of the mother's alleged addiction, which would endanger the daughter for whom she has custody.
·The Hague Conference on Private International Law has been working for several years to legally regulate parental rights in cases of surrogacy
· In a prepared report, experts stress that in some countries, surrogacy users have difficulty obtaining the child's citizenship and parental rights
· Experts suggest developing an international instrument recognizing foreign court decisions on parentage and unifying regulations