Norwegian case: Letter to the Prime Minister of Spain

The Nordic Committee for Human Rights

NCHR

For the protection of Family Rights in the Nordic countries

 

 

Prime Minister

Sr. José Luis Zapatero

C/o Spanska Ambassaden

Box 10295

100 55 Stockholm.

July 12, 2004.

 

Subject: Norwegian mother, former member of the Norwegian Parliament, arrested in Palma de Mallorca

 

Mr. Prime Minister, Dear Sir,

 

I, the undersigned, Ruby Harrold-Claesson, attorney-at-law and president of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights - NCHR - For the Protection of Family Rights in the Nordic countries, am writing to you concerning the Norwegian mother, former member of the Norwegian Parliament, who has been arrested in Palma de Mallorca on charges of kidnapping her own two teenage children and demanded extradited by the Norwegian authorities.

 

I appeal to you Mr. Prime Minister, not to return the mother and her children to Norway. The reason for this request is very simple: The Norwegian government does not respect the right to private and family life that is guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Norwegian government has established institutions that constantly take children into care and place them in foster homes, far away from their loving and caring parents and relatives and with unreasonable restrictions on communication and visitation between these children and their families. These interventions into the children's and their families' lives have mostly been without just or even reasonable cause. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has found Norway guilty of violating the basic human rights of children and their parents, cf Johansen v. Norway.

 

In Norway today, we find that an important number of parents whose children have been threatened by the social services or have already been taken into public care, have taken their children and fled to Spain. All during last year and the beginning of this year, the Norwegian government has, via the Children's Ombudsman, made propaganda issues about their great concern for the Norwegian children whose parents have fled with them and who are currently residing in Spain. It should however be agreed, Mr. Prime Minister, that parents who can take the initiative to protect their children from the social services and flee to Spain in order to enjoy their " most sacred rights" ¹) to private and family life, are doing what is utterly incumbent on parents, that is to protect their offspring from danger.

 

 

¹) Dissenting opinion of European Court Judges Pettiti, Ruso and Matscher in the Case Olsson v. Sweden (No. 2), Application number 13441/87, Verdict 30 October 1992.


 

This Norwegian woman and mother in this issue is a doubtlessly a very competent person. She has been a member of the Norwegian Parliament during different periods and has also occupied different high-profile positions both on the local and the national scene. It seems highly incomprehensible that the Norwegian authorities demand to have her extradited after she and her children have lived in Spain for over two years. These youngsters, aged 13 and 16 years, especially the 16 year old, are fully capable to decide where they want to live and with whom. Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the child guarantees that "the views of the child be given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child." Such consideration is given to children's views in divorce and custody cases in Scandinavia but not to youngsters in custody cases where the state has decided to overtake the parents' responsibility, i.e. public care cases.

 

The Norwegian authorities are claiming to have better right to the children than their natural parents. However, the return of this mother and her two teenage children to the Norwegian authorities would constitute a violation of their right to private and family life that is guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention. It would also constitute a violation of their rights according to Article 2:2 of Protocol No. 4 of the said Convention.

 

I would therefore like to welcome you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the members of your government, to visit the NCHR's web site on the Internet, where we publish dozens of authentic stories of the social services taking children into care and the devastating effect this has had on the children and their parents and relatives. We publish in seven languages namely Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, French, German and Finnish. The URL to our web site is www.nkmr.org. A click on the English, French, German and Finnish flags will bring you to those language sections.

 

Once again, I appeal to you, Mr. Prime Minister, not to return this mother and her children to the Norwegian authorities.

 

Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Ruby Harrold-Claesson

 

Ruby Harrold-Claesson

Attorney-at-law

President of the NCHR

 

 

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