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 Post subject: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:09 pm 
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Four children of a Muslim family from Malaysia living in Stockholm have been taken by the Swedish child protection service and the parents have been jailed pending trial. There has been a radio interview with Siv Westerberg on Malaysian radio about Sweden's manner of acting. The interviewer wanted to know if Swedish authorities have the right to do this, and he asked if there was anything the Malaysian state could do.

There have clearly been several articles on the internet about the case. So far I found these:

Malaysian couple held in Sweden for beating child who did not pray
The Malaysian Insider, 18 January 2014

Put us with Muslim family, say children of Malaysian couple detained in Sweden
The Star online, 18 January 2014

  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:33 am 
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There is a flood of articles in English now about this case in Malaysia, and there are some in British newspapers also. A simple search with the words 'Sweden Malaysia children couple' brought far over a hundred hits from newspapers, blogs, official sites from the last fortnight.

Here are a few:

Malaysian couple held in Sweden over claims they smacked their child for missing his prayer
Mirror News, 22 January 2014

Malaysians Arrested For Hitting Kids In Sweden May Risk 10 Years In Jail
Malaysian digest, 25 January 2014

'Culture clash' in Swedish case
NewStraitsTimes, 18 January 2014

Malaysian govt helping couple in Sweden held for hitting child
asia one Malaysia, 21 January 2014

SWEDISH media highlights case of M'sian couple who hit their kids
Malaysia Chronicle, 26 January 2014

Malaysian couple could be remanded indefinitely
astroAWANI, 23 January 2014
Quite informative interview with Ruby Harrold-Claesson of NKMR (NCHR). The Swedish amabassador in Malaysia will not talk about the case.

Arrests: NGOs send protest memo to Swedish embassy
Free Malaysia Today, 21 January 2014

Malaysian Children Unhappy With Swedish Foster Family
National News Agency of Malaysia, 19 January 2014

Sweden takes tourism chief’s children into care over smacking
The Times, 23 January 2013

Couple arrested in Sweden: Gov't told to act swiftly
Harakah Daily, 21 January 2014

Sweden treats Malaysian couple well in prison
The Malaysian Times, 21 January 2014

Muslims in Sweden volunteer to care for kids
The Star, 19 January 2014

Bar Council: Laws empowering separation of children and parents must have safeguards
The Star, 19 January 2014

Case in Sweden 'blow out of proportion'
The Nation, 21 January 2014

Family reps of detained couple apply for good conduct cert
fz.com, 26 January 2014

Sweden, return our children!
Astro Awani, 25 January 2014


PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OVER THE DETENTION OF A MALAYSIAN COUPLE IN SWEDENN
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, 20 January 2014

Press Release: REPORT OF UPDATES REGARDING THE DETENTION OF A MALAYSIAN COUPLE IN SWEDEN
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, 22 January 2014
  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:45 am 
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The interview (done by phone from Malaysia) with lawyer Siv Westerberg in Gothenburg, Sweden:

More than 300,000 children forcefully separated in Sweden
astro AWANI, 23 January 2014


  *


Here information from Suranya Aiyar in Delhi, India has been taken up by a Malaysian newspaper. She has informed them well. Apparently the newspaper is a bit hesitant and uncertain whether to believe what they hear, but the information of Malaysians and Malaysian media about Western child protection has at least begun, as in a few of the articles in the posting above. Here too:

'Highlight plight of couple, kids'
MEDIA FOCUS: Understanding Western systems vital to regaining custody of children in Sweden
Pusat Berita, Cari Malay Forum - prepared by New Strait Times, 26 januar 2014

Here is another article from the same site:
Swedish media highlight case
Pusat Berita, Cari Malay Forum - prepared by New Strait Times, 25 januar 2014

This article says that there has actually been something about the case in the large Swedish paper Expressen, probably on Thursday 23 January. Otherwise Swedish media is pretty silent, of course.

It is also mentioned that the parents hold diplomatic passports, but another article has it that their status is still not such as to protect them from arrest and detention.

  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:16 am 
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***
The mail sent on 24 January 2014 by Suranya Aiyar in New Delhi to the Malaysian Embassy in Sweden and to the Brazilian Embassy in Norway, copies sent to a number of establishments and press units in New Delhi.

***




Children confiscated from parents in Norway and Sweden

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have seen in the news that a Brazilian family in Norway and a Malaysian family in Sweden are caught up in a dispute with child protection authorities in those countries. I understand that in the Brazilian case, the mother and daughter have taken refuge in the Oslo embassy and are negotiating for them to be permitted to go to Brazil, while in the Malaysian case the parents have been taken into jail on allegations of their having slapped or spanked one of their sons and that all four of their children have been put into foster care.

I am writing to express my sympathies and also to bring to your attention that there have been similar cases regarding Indian families in Norway (Bhattacharya family) and the United States of America (Saha family) in which the Indian government intervened and successfully succeeded in having the children in question repatriated to India. In another case in Norway (Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni family) where parents were alleged to have physically punished their child, though the Indian Government was not successful in preventing incarceration of the parents, they were able to appeal to the Norwegian authorities to grant the parents a reprieve of the last 1/3rd of the jail term - apparently this the norm in Norway unless there are exceptional circumstances.

There appears to be a humanitarian crisis in these countries where families are being attacked and punished under draconian laws that allow children to be permanently removed from their families and barred from returning to their countries on very flimsy grounds - indeed many of us watching these cases do not believe that such absolute confiscation of children from home, country and family is ever justified. We have also observed that foreigners, low-income families, families that are overtly different in their ways of living or religious beliefs from the country of residence and families where either a parent or the child suffers from disabilities (including minor ones such as dyslexia) are particularly targeted by these so-called child protection authorities.

I hope that you are successful in returning the children to their rightful families and countries. I am attaching for your information the following:

1. A petition that some activists in India have filed with our National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which gives a legal basis for arguing that international law requires that the children in question be returned to their families and countries. Please note that the principles of right of return and special relationship with native country (even if the child concerned is not a passport-holder of that country or has only one parent who originates from that country) would arguably apply, as customary law, even if the countries in question are not parties to the conventions quoted in this petition.

2. A list of the documents filed with this petition which gives an overview of the extent of this problem with child protection authorities in the First World - hyperlinks to the documents are included, so you can access them on the internet.

3. A detailed report of the Norwegian documents in the Bhattacharya case - this was also part of the petition filed with the NHRC.

I hope these are of use in your intervention with the Norwegian and Swedish authorities. You may also make contact with Indian foreign ministry officials in charge of America and Norway to gain insight into how the Indian cases were handled - the contact details of the officials for the Americas and Western Europe are available on the Indian Foreign Ministry website, as also those of the Indian foreign minister.

In the Indian cases in which I campaigned with the government to intervene, I noted as the case progressed that there was extreme reluctance on the part of the foreign authorities to return the children - even to family members other than those against whom allegation of neglect or abuse were made. It took sustained pressure at the highest level. In the Bhattacharya case, our Prime Minister had to intervene and in the other two cases, it was necessary to involve the foreign minister directly.

Another thing to be careful about is the health of the children in foster care. There is a high incidence of children falling ill, getting injured and dying in foster care. In the US case there were three instances where the little boy, less than a year old when he was taken away, was found to have been injured or required hospitalisation for dehydration associated with fever and cold. So you are advised to insist that officials from your embassies are permitted to visit the children frequently to ensure that they are not being neglected or abused in foster care.

The child protection authorities are very adept at exploiting differences between the father and mother of the children to make that an excuse for not returning children to their families - this occurred in the Bhattacharya case where the case also involved a custody dispute between mother and father and allegations were made against the mother to say she was unfit to keep her children. It has now been over a year that the children in this case have been back with their mother, they are both doing very well and the mother was examined over several months in India and found to be completely sane and fit by experts here. (see this recent article: http://indianexpress.com/article/news-a ... g-to-them/) So, one thing we have noticed is that these foreign authorities are not above telling blatant lies when it comes to keeping hold of foreign children. The main reason for this, apart from cultural prejudice against families in "poor" or "backward" countries, is that every child in foster care represents significant amounts of money for the local child protection authorities as well as the foster carers and other social workers involved in the case.

If you are interested, I can put you in touch with lawyers and activists in Norway and Sweden who have been supporting families attacked by child protection authorities there.

I will end by giving a brief background of myself - I am an Indian citizen living in New Delhi. I have two small children and before I quit work to take care of them I was a practising lawyer. In the last two years, since I got to know about this issue when the Bhattacharya case in Norway burst upon the news in India, I have been writing and campaigning against the confiscation of children by foreign State authorities. Listed below are some articles I have published on this issue:

Overview of western child welfare authorities:
http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main52 ... 2think.asp
http://www.pravasitoday.com/understandi ... e-agencies

This one is about the Bhattacharya case in Norway:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/p ... 39646.aspx

This one is about the Saha case in the US:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/c ... 11847.aspx

This one is about the Vallabhaneni case in Norway:
http://www.timescrest.com/world/how-abo ... y-goi-9345

If there is anything at all that I can do to help, please do get in touch. All the best in your efforts to save these hapless families.


Best regards,

Suranya Aiyar
+91-9818886808



Enclosures:

Petition 121012
*
Supporting Materials with Petition
*
The Confiscation of the Bhattacharya Children by Norwegian Authorities - Case Study Final



  


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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:42 am 
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Free Mayalsia Today has followed up their previous publishing about the case by printing the version of Suranya Aiyar's letter sent to them in full:

Children seized from parents in foreign countries
Free Malaysia Today, 26 January 2014

  
Good!  Families that are hit by Western child 'protection' need our sympathy and support, and publishing the truth is one of the few ways anyone can help them. I hope those who read Suranya's letter in Free Malaysia Today, click into the links too. On p 31 of the last one, the final report on the Bhattacharya case in Norway by all the signatories to the Petition, they will find:
"The Bhattacharya care proceedings make for sickening reading."

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:53 am 
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A longish comment of mine on the case has appeared:

Ask Sweden to return kids to M'sia
by Marianne Haslev Skanland
Free Malaysia Today, 29 January 2014

  
According to Wikipedia, Free Malaysia Today is an oneline newspaper with continuous publishing. Estimated visits 100,000 visitors and 300,000 page views per day.


*


Suranya Aiyar's letter has also been published by The Star:

High level sustained pressure needed
The Star, 29 January 2014

  
    

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:09 am 
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Some more publishing:

Couple held in Sweden: Children to be placed with M'sian Muslim family
New Straits Times, 28 January 2014

Couple Held In Sweden: Children To Stay With Muslim Family
Malaysian Digest, 28 January 2014

Malaysian Muslims surprised by Sweden's laws protecting children from physical abuse, lauch campaign to free Muslim couple accused of smacking their children for not praying
Look under the burka of Islam (blogger), 26 January 2014

Kin apply to meet couple's kids in Sweden
The Star Online, 27 January 2014

Swedish Chief Judge explain the judiciary process of Malaysian couple
astroAWANI, 29 January 2014
  
Don't upset other nations' sovereignty
New Straits Times, 23 January 2014

Shalwati Norshal is happy to receive support back home – Swedish lawyer
ABN News (Asian Broadcasting Network), 28.01.2014

  
  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:54 am 
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Two comments from Norway have appeared under the interview with Siv Westerberg in AstroAwani (the article linked to further up in this thread, More than 300,000 children forcefully separated in Sweden).

One of them is by Cecilie Bedsvaag, who is active in other debates on CPS issues also. The other one is my own, with some links which I hope Mslaysians will click into. I repeat it here:

***
Just as Mrs Westerberg says, the situation in Sweden as well as other western countries is very bad - children are deprived of their parents on flimsy and spurious grounds. Mrs Westerberg herself has succeeded in having 9 cases against Sweden admitted to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and has won 7 of them, most of them child protection cases. Sweden in no way changes its policies even when found guilty of such violations of human rights to family life.
---
I hope Malaysia will inform itself of the seriousness of these tragedies, preferably join other nations and helping its citizens against this kind of Western child 'protection':
---
Christopher Booker, The Telegraph: Indians join Slovaks in protesting against UK child snatchers
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9637 ... chers.html
---
Petition to the Indian National Human Rights Commission: Indians want their government to guard against western CPS
viewtopic.php?f=56&t=7106
---
The confiscation of the Bhattacharya children by Norwegian authorities - case study final
http://kractivist.files.wordpress.com/2 ... -final.pdf
---
An article I wrote myself, published by The Hindu in Chennai: The Iron Hand that Rocks the Cradle
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp ... 843489.ece
(It also gives examples illustrating the money motive)
---
Lots of cases here, on Forum.r-b-v.net's Section for English speakers:
viewforum.php?f=56
---
A number of articles on my own website: http://www.mhskanland.net

*

To believe that one can accomplish anything - as the Malaysian government seems to hope - by quiet, friendly diplomacy, no publicity and no supporting "activism" is tantamount not to recognising that the grave danger is, after all, not whether the parents will spend a few months in a Swedish jail, but that the Swedish government will never voluntarily let go of their children again no matter what the outcome of a trial.
---
Regards from Oslo, Norway (neighbouring country to Sweden),
Marianne Haslev Skanland

***
  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:42 pm 
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A couple of earlier articles about the case:

Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry must ensure children’s welfare and speed up the trial process
Malaysian Chinese Association, 19.01.2014

Wanita Umno wants Putrajaya monitor case of Malaysian parents in Sweden – Bernama
msn News, 21.01.2014

  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:16 pm 
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On facebook:

Bring Shal and Family Home

  

  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:28 am 
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Some articles in New Straits Times:

Couple held in Sweeden children handed over to Malaysian Embassy
New Straits Times, 31 January 2014
Progress: The children were at long last brought to the Malaysian Embassy in Stockholm and they are now to stay with a Malaysian, Muslim family in Sweden.

By Jayaraj K.G.S. Sitiawan, Perak:
Detention in Sweden: Spare no effort to bring kids home
New Straits Times, 20 January 2014

Marianne Haslev Skanland:
Child protection case: Try to bring kids home
New Straits Times, 31 January 2014
Same article as the one published in Free Malaysia Today on 29 January (see above in this thread), but the present version is quite abbreviated and somewhat edited. New Straits Times is primarily a paper-printed paper, and so space tends to be more important than it is on the internet.

Same as the above:
Child Protection Case: Try To Bring Kids Home
WN (World News), 31 January 2014

Malaysian couple held in Sweden in good health: Hamzah
New Straits Times, 30 January 2014

Swedish court extends remand for M'sian parent
New Straits Times, 31 January 2014

Govt helping couple in Sweden
New Straits Times, 21 January 2014

  
  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:55 am 
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Some articles in Astro Awani (primarily a tv and radio channel):

Their reporter Zan Azlee (who previously interviewed Siv Westerberg over the phone - see above in this thread, and repeated here) has been in Stockholm and done several interviews and recordings.

Bittersweet moment for Azizul and Shalwati's children (videos included)
By Zan Azlee, Stockholm
Astro Awani, 31 January 2013

Deputy Minister meets Malaysian couple detained in Sweden (video included)
By Zan Azlee, Stockholm
Astro Awani, 30 January 2013
Comment by Suranya Aiyar posted under the article.

Azizul's hearing ended, remand extended for another 11 days (video included)
By Zan Azlee, Stockholm
Astro Awani, 30 January 2014

Swedish Chief Judge explains the judiciary process of Malaysian couple (videos included)
By Zan Azlee, Stockholm
Astro Awani, 29 January 2014

Lawyer: Shalwati has been accused of abusing children numerous times (videos included)
By Zan Azlee, Stockholm
Astro Awani, 28 January 2014

Children to be handed over to Muslim foster family - Sheikh Nafiq
By Zan Azlee, Stockholm
Astro Awani, 27 January 2014

Swedish Muslims want government to increase number of Muslim foster families
By Zan Azlee, Sweden
Astro Awani, 27 January 2014

Sweden, return our children!
Astro Awani, 25 January 2014

Does Sweden own your children?
By Zan Azlee
Astro Awani, 23 January 2014

More than 300,000 children forcefully separated in Sweden
By Zan Azlee
Astro Awani, 23 January 2014

Shalwati Nurshal is a doting mother
Astro Awani, 28 January 2014

Family members not permitted to visit M'sian couple in Swedish prison yet
Astro Awani, 20 January 2014

  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:58 am 
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An article announces that the children are already on their way home:

Children Of Detained Malaysian Couple In Sweden, Returning To Malaysia
Malaysian Digest, 31 January 2014

However, there is a muddle here over times. The article is said to be "Published on Friday, 31 January 2014 15:49" (local time in Malaysia), it is now 11 am here in Sweden and Norway (European time), and that agrees well with the article appearing to be quite new. But the article says:
"The four children of a Malaysian couple detained in Sweden left Stockholm at 6.30 pm local time, Friday (1.30pm Friday Malaysian time) en route to Malaysia."

First of all: 6.30 pm in Sweden must correspond to 1.30 am (1.30 of the next morning) in Malaysia, not to 1.30 in the afternoon.

Furthermore, either they have confused the dates and the children left yesterday, Thursday, at 6.30 pm (European time) or else they are scheduled to leave later today Friday.

Yesterday or today - anyway it is wonderful news! Hopefully further articles will confirm it. Maybe there will be tv reports when they arrive in Malaysia?
  
  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Getting clearer: It seems the children have left Sweden this morning, Friday, at 06.30 am, with the Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister, a special officer of the Deputy Foreign Minister, and a relative of the children!

Children of Malaysian couple return from Sweden
New Straits Times, 31 January 2014

Four children of Malaysian couple remanded in Sweden leave Stockholm
The Star, 31 January 2014


It is as wonderful as it can possibly be!

The article makes a mention of the fact that the Swedish prosecution yesterday, Thursday, obtained an extension of the detention of one of the parents (prolongation of detention for the other parent will be up for consideration today). A thought that must be permitted to spring to mind (without too much 'psychologising') is that the decision on extended detention may have convinced the Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister & co that they would have to cut it short for the children, not let them wait any longer in Sweden.

  

  

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 Post subject: Re: Malaysian family in Sweden - children taken
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:18 pm 
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Children of Malaysian couple held in Sweden handed to Malaysian embassy
The Malay Mail Online, 31 January 2014

This is interesting:

"Meanwhile, Sheikh Nafiq said the bureau managed to hand over various items, gifts and toys collected by several quarters for the children.
“Our mision here is to assist in getting information on the case involving the children and the result today is due to the cooperation of all parties.
“For us, the bureau will try to find solutions for Malaysians facing predicaments and act as a bridge to government agencies and non-governmental organisations,” he said. — Bernama"


Perhaps it means that they will be engaged in possible other cases in the future as well? Just what the group in India asked that their National Human Rights Commission and their government should do?


From the Indian Petition:

1.
The National Human Rights Commission exercises its powers under Sections 12(d) and (e) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to recommend the following measures for the effective implementation of and removal of factors that inhibit the enjoyment of the human rights as discussed above of Indian children and their relatives in India under Article 12(4) of the ICCPR (right of return), Article 15 of the ICESCR (cultural rights), Articles 23(1) of the ICCPR and 10(1) of the ICESCR (right to widest possible assistance for preservation and protection of the family) and Article 14 and Article 21 of the constitution of India (right to equal treatment in all aspects of State action and the right to life):

(a) The Government of India designates a committee or department with representatives in all embassies, consulates and missions abroad with the duty of responding to the plight of Indian children caught in care proceedings abroad. Such committee or department to have well- defined and transparent procedures for the receipt, investigation and expeditious disposal of petitions from children or the relatives of children who have been placed under state care, foster care or have been institutionalised or given away in adoption in or consequent to child care proceedings abroad; or are under actual or threatened confiscation, whether interim, temporary or permanent, in child care investigations or proceedings abroad;

(b) The Government of India empowers such committee or department to use its good offices with the governments of foreign States, particularly States that are signatories to the ICCPR and the ICESCR, to enter into agreements, understandings or other arrangements for the expeditious return of Indian children caught in care proceedings in such States to their families in India;

(c) The Government of India issues a travel advisory drawing the attention of Indians planning to travel abroad, even for holidays or medium term stay, to the severe and confiscatory nature of foreign child protection laws;

(d) The Government of India sensitises its embassies, consulates and missions abroad of the human rights concerns with the confiscatory powers of child welfare services of the developed world and instruct them to gather information about child welfare care laws and about lawyers, activists, language interpreters and other persons who can be of assistance to Indians facing confiscatory child care proceedings or investigations.

2.
under Sections 12(g), (h), (i) and (j) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to commission a legal and statistical study on the functioning of confiscatory child protection or child welfare laws abroad.

3.
The National Human Rights Commission exercises its powers under Section 20(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to submit a report to the Government of India in regard to the matters raised in this petition.
The National Human Rights Commission exercises its powers of research and awareness-building

4.
The National Human Rights Commission exercises its powers of spreading human rights literacy and awareness of safeguards for the protection of human rights; to encourage the efforts of non- governmental organisations and institutions working in the field of human rights; and to perform such other functions as it may consider necessary for the protection of human rights under Sections 12 (h), (i) and (j) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 by espousing and publicising the humanitarian concerns raised in this petition.

  

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