Norwegian MPs may discuss Michalák case

Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský has been pushing for Norway to take action

Prague, Jan 23 (ČTK) — Norwegian MPs may debate the case of the Czech Michalák brothers, whom the Norwegian Child Welfare Service has taken away form their parents, next week, Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (Christian Democrats, KDU-ČSL) told the Czech News Agency today.

He said Per Sandberg, deputy chairman of the Progress Party, wants to ask the Norwegian Foreign Minister about the case at a meeting of the foreign committee of Norwegian Parliament.

“This will be for the first that something like this will happen in Norway in relation to a case involving the Czech Republic,” Zdechovský said.

Zdechovský is among others a member of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee of the European Parliament.

The boys, now aged 9 and 6, were taken away from their parents by the Norwegian Child Welfare Service in 2011 on suspicion of violence and abuse and they were placed in foster care, each to another family.

Sandberg, a member of the parliament’s foreign committee, who focuses on child protection and immigration, wants to visit the Czech Republic, Zdechovský said.

Next week, the head of Norwegian parliament will visit events to remember the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Poland. He also wants to discuss social inclusion during his visit and the talks may also touch on the Michaláks’ case.

The Norwegian Child Welfare Service has been criticized by parents, politicians and institutions from various countries. Zdechovský said his team registers more than 420 cases.

“The number of cases is largely rising. Some states are preparing complaints about Norway. It has an international dimension and impact,” he said.

Besides the Michaláks, Zdechovský mentioned four other Czech cases in Norway. Two mothers do not want to provide any information, another mother has given up her struggle after five years and the fourth case involves parents from a mixed marriage, Zdechovský said.

He said the Norwegian system is not good, it gives priority to the interests of foster parents and it presses for adoption.

Zdechovský said international organizations called on Norway several years ago not to violate the human rights charter and to see to it that the welfare service do not take children away from their parents so frequently.

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