The Sunday Guardian’s series on inhumane Western child protection services makes the news in Norway again. Western critics of child protection services are having to turn to India to be heard against the unjustified removal of children by the state in their countries.
Scandinavian countries where governments, authorities and courts do not respect the human right of children and parents to a family life together
Well-known academic, writer and human rights activist Madhu Kishwar describes the harassment faced by Nat children under poorly thought-out child and social welfare laws. The Nats are an impoverished community of wandering acrobatic performers, whose performance traditions go back hundreds of years. Rather than uplifting Nat children, the Indian child rights laws along with NGOs and Child Welfare Committees implementing them are compounding the problems arising from their parents’ poverty and lack of work opportunities.
In this gripping essay, Cristina Nicoli, an Australian of Romanian origin, traces Norway’s notorious child confiscation practices to historical instances of state-sponsored child removal. A grotesque picture emerges of brutal episodes of forced child removal over the last century all over the Western world, and its colonies, from Europe to Latin America to Australia, whether in the name of racial cleansing, or educating, ‘civilising’, integrating, or politically indoctrinating children.
Dr. Kaustav Bhattacharyya presents international “standards-setting” as a tactic by the European Union (EU) for exerting influence around the world. He argues that child welfare measures and best practices are an important tool in the EU’s exercise of “soft” empire. Dr. Bhattacharyya cautions that we in India should not blindly adopt the EU’s universalizing measures in child policy as research is showing that they have resulted in discrimination against immigrants, marginalized communities and ethnic minorities.
Professor Marianne Haslev Skanland writes about how experts in Norway came to ask for the exclusion of considerations of biological kinship – «the biological principle» – in formulating child welfare policy there. Indian readers will be intrigued to see just how far things can go once you set on the path of child rights as envisioned in the developed West today.
“We need a child welfare that works to a greater extent with prevention and support measures at home, as well as using the children’s family or network when care is the only solution” writes Norwegian MP, Orsal Johansen in email interview with Filter Nyheter.
The most suspect and frustrating of all in child protection cases I hold to be the absence of any requirement of proof, of stated and reasoned cause, or of concrete answers. Allegations are made without any form of documentation, just expressions like “we think” and “our assessment”. The County Committees accept vague, undefined claims and arguments, and do not demand anything in the way of quality control and concrete justification for the CWS’s conclusions….They have in my view become a state within the state, they do not act according to existing laws and rules. It seems to me that they have one goal only: as many children as possible taken into care. This is not how the CWS should work.
A Norwegian woman has requested asylum in Poland, fearing that officials in her home country will take her child away, according to a report.
“Called the “Stolen Generations,” indigenous children and their families were routinely separated from the beginning of colonization in the 1700s. Governments and churches forced assimilation and conversion to Christianity by placing children in training institutes …”