Address by Valeriu Ghiletchi, Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe, regarding removal of children from Bodnariu family in Norway.
To the Committee of Ministers,
According to the relatively recent Resolution 2049 (2015) of the Parliamentary Assembly regarding legislation and the practice of removal of children from their families in Council of Europe member States, while children have the right to be protected from all types of violence they also have the right not to be separeted from their biological parents against their will or in an abusive manner.
In Naustdal, Norway, on the 16th and 17th of November 2015, parents Bodnariu Johanne (pediatric nurse) and Marian Bodnariu (IT Engineer) saw their five children being taken away from them in an abusive manner by the Norwegian Child Protection Services based on allegations of violence and of severe Christian indoctrination. The children were taken either directly from school, or picked-up at home by the police and placed with different temporary foster families far from their parents which were also forbiden to see them. Moreover, their smallest child (3 months old only) was literarly taken away from his mother while being beastfed and taken to a location 4 hours away. He was also subjected to X-rays twice, quite excessive for someone his age. The authorities went so far as to try to convince the mother to state that her husband is an agressor in order for her to get her children back. All these measures were taken based on some random allegations and without a court order.
In respect to Resolution 2049 (2015), in the absence of a child being adjudged to be at risk or imminent risk of suffering serious harm, in particular physical, sexual or psychological abuse, it is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing to remove him from his parents and even less to sever family ties completely. Furthermore, children’s rights are violated by unwarranted decisions taken in a member State to remove them from (or not to return them to) parental care.
Consequently, I (we) would like to ask the Committee of Ministers to assess whether the measures implemented by the Norwegian authorities with respect to the Bodnariu Family were compatible with the Council’s fundamental values and Resolution 2049 (2015), and, particularly, if the forced separation was proportional to the factual allegations and whether all measures were taken exclusively in the best interest of the children.
Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development
Assembly debate on 22 April 2015 (15th Sitting) (see Doc. 13730, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Ms Olga Borzova; and Doc. 13760, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: MsOlenaSotnyk). Text adopted by the Assembly on 22 April 2015 (15th Sitting)