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A high-profile case in which five children were removed from their parents’ care by the Barnevernet in November has reignited international criticism of the Norwegian child welfare service.
After news of the case spread internationally, supporters of the children’s parents of the children, who have a Norwegian mother and a Romanian father, organised petitions as well as demonstrations in the United States and several European countries, as well as in a number of Romanian towns
An anti-Barnevernet Facebook page claims that over 60,000 people have demonstrated against the agency since January:
The activists are now gearing up for an international day of action on April 16th.
The Norwegian-Romanian couple were separated from their children after being charged with violence against minors. According to a report in VG, the parents admitted during an interview on Romanian television to having smacked their children on the backside and pulled them by their ears, despite being aware that disciplining children physically is illegal in Norway.
Supporters of the couple have claimed via Romanian media that the Norwegian state is discriminating against them due to their Pentecostal Christian beliefs.
“Barnevernet may also have been motivated, in seizing the children, by an anti-religious animus towards the family,” lawyer Peter Costea said in a blog post published by the site culturavietti.ro. Costea also claims that the “religious rights” of the couple may have been violated.
“The way Barnevernet has acted in this cased has provoked all of us. We are now intensifying our work towards a day of action [on April 16th], as well as spreading information about the case to politicians,” pastor Cristian Ionescu, the spokesperson for the movement behind the petition and demonstrations, told VG.
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