We reject the practices of Barnevernet, protestors say in front of the Norwegian embassy

Defenders of the Norwegian social service Barnevernet met at the Norwegian Embassy in Prague. They opposed the introduction of a similar system in the Czech Republic. The Bohemia also came to support several Norwegians, who had their children taken by Barnevernet. The grandfather of Eva Michalakova, Jiri Pavelka, also took part.

Several people against the Norwegian social service Barnevernet, who protested in Prague (15 May 2017) Photo by Yan Renelt, MAFRA.

Around 50 people gathered around the large screen in front of the Embassy building, with banners "Return Czech Children to Czech Mother" or "Children belong to the family". Some of the Norwegians who had their children taken away by Barnevernet came to support the event and to warn the country about misconduct of their social service.

"On one side you can see beautiful pictures of Norway and its nature. On the other hand, some people are corrupt and abuse the childcare system. They go too far," said Tor Berglid, Director of Barnets Beste, (Childs Best).

"We protest against efforts to implement a social and legal child protection service that is counter-family in the Czech Republic. With us, we have substantial financial support from the Norwegian funds. The law according to the Norwegian model is valid for us. We have paid foster parents. In the year 2016, the Czech social worker dealt with six times more cases of abused and neglected children than in 2006. Children do not end up in the family, but in temporary paid foster homes," said organizer, Jordanka Jirásková on Facebook.

The most famous case of child removal in Norway is the case of Eva Michalakova and her sons Denise and David.

"I do not agree with how Norwegian justice and Barnevernet have been preserved," Pavelka said in front of the assembly, the grandfather of the boys. "At the last court, Eve's parental rights were removed. But she did not do anything wrong. The case will reach the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg," he said.

In May 2016, the District Court in Hokksund, Norway, appealed Michalakova’s appeal. She defended herself against the decision made by the County Commission to remove her parental rights for her two sons in 2015, and sent them for adoption. Justice has failed to challenge the objections, but has rejected only adoption. (we have written more here).

Pavelka himself is in Norway seeking the right to see his two grandchildren (more here). Barnevernet is expected to comment on his request within a few months.
"Do not tell me this embassy tells you the truth about why Mr. Pavelka can not see his grandchildren. It's crap. I commend Norway to send the children to Michalakova’s home," Tor Berglid added in his message to the people in front of the Prague embassy.

Another birthday without contact with mother

Denis and David Michalakova were born in Norway in 2005 and 2008. Their parents also have Czech citizenship. Six years have elapsed since their removal. Officials came to the boys in May 2011 on suspicion of family violence and sexual abuse. No allegations were confirmed and even the police investigators spoke in favour of Michalakova. The boys were still divided into two foster families. The youngest boy saw his mother last August 2015, while the older more than three years ago. According to the Norwegian authorities, they feel it is not worth them meeting.

Michalakova remembered the birthday of her older son over the past weekend: "Today, on 13th May 2017, my dear son Denis celebrates his 12th birthday. Again, without the possibility of celebrating together with his brother David.”

Last year, a Czech-Norwegian couple brought their case to the media, where a 9 month old girl with a genetic kidney disease was taken. Her return was ultimately ordered by the court after reviewing the Barnevernet procedures. It turned out that officials used false arguments against the family (we wrote more here).

Grandfather of Michalakova sues Barnevern

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