Cotidianul Chinez XINHUA despre cazul familiei BODNARIU – The Bodnariu family in the CHINESE Press

Cotidianul Chinez XINHUA despre cazul familiei BODNARIU - The Bodnariu family in the CHINESE Press

~~ Cazul Bodnariu in presa chineza, articolul citeaza un avocat norvegian care critica sistemul

News Analysis: Norway’s child welfare service urged to heed cultural differences

OSLO, May 13 (Xinhua) – The recent global protests against Norway’s child welfare service for aggressively taking children from their parents, many of them of foreign origins, show the authorities should pay more attention to cultural differences and bring about fundamental changes, analysts said.

While the country’s child protection service, known as Barnevernet, and its supporters believe that the service is strictly oriented towards the protection of children’s rights, others claim it has been taking the children by force from their biological parents and thus breaking the human rights of the family members.


Psychologist Judith van der Weele, who has been working extensively with ethnic minority families in Norway, said it is a very big challenge for immigrant parents in Norway to show their parental competence to Barnevernet.

„They are afraid of Barnevernet and this huge fear stops them from willing to ask for help. The rumors’ influence against Barnevernet is so big that many foreign parents even send their children back to their home country so as not to lose their children,” van der Weele told Xinhua.

She said some immigrant parents get a lot of „unhealthy counseling” against the Barnevernet and they simply act unnaturally when meeting staff from the child welfare service, instead of relaxing and showing that they can handle their children in a healthy way.

„Barnevernet, on the other side, lacks competence and expertise on cultural differences as well as cultural brokers who could help to introduce different cultural habits and traditions in order to achieve mutual understanding and trust,” van der Weele said.

The case of a Romanian-Norwegian couple of Pentecostal faith whose five children were taken away by Barnevernet last November has stirred up many discussions and controversies.

Marius Bodnariu, a Romanian, and his wife Ruth, a Norwegian, used corporal punishment when raising their children, a method that is illegal in Norway. They admit this and add that they still did not expect this outcome.

Some Christian believers have expressed opinion that Barnevernet simply discriminates the couple on religious and national grounds. More than 60,000 people have since January demonstrated against Barnevernet in this case in the United States, Romania and several other European countries, according to an anti-Bernevernet Facebook page.

On April 16, protests were held in 63 cities of 20 countries around the world against the Barnevernet, a follow-up of many similar events in previous years that made different nations question the way this organization is handling sensitive issues of child protection in Norway.

Gro Hillestad Thune, a Norwegian human rights lawyer, told Xinhua that the system in which the Barnevernet is given too much authority to decide the best interest of children is unjustifiable.

„Many employees in Barnevern’s local offices are doing their best to help families in trouble and protect children against abusive care. But the system as such has to be fundamentally changed,” Thune said.

„The present system, as it operates today, does not provide the individual child and the parents with proper legal protection against unfounded and unjustified public interference in their family life.” Thune added.

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