20 June 2015
The Hague convention in Norway – changes in legislation now in place
Norway implements the Hague convention and the relevant legislative changes are announced. They express increased criminalisation of parents, and increased possibility for Norway to demand children extradited from abroad. To take a child away from the social services in Norway after an interim acute decision is also criminalised.
Endringer i barnebortføringsloven, barnevernloven, straffeloven 2005 og rettshjelploven (internasjonal barnebortføring)
(Changes in the child abduction law, the child protection law, the criminal law of 2005 and the law pertaining to legal assistance)
Tilråding fra Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet 19. juni 2015, godkjent i statsråd samme dag. (Regjeringen Solberg)
(Recommendation from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security of 19 June 2015, approved in cabinet meeting on the same day.)
A short announcement about the matter in some newspapers:
(The government will make it easier to fetch abducted children home)
Hordaland, 19 June 2015
"Det gir oss også eit endå betre grunnlag for å utøve påtrykk i saker der barn er bortførte frå Norge, seier justis- og beredskapsminister Anders Anundsen (Frp)." ("This provides a still better basis for putting pressure on in cases in which children have been abducted from Norway, says the minister of justice and public security Anders Anundsen (Frp).)
The same in
Bufdir (the government's directorate of children, youth and family) has a longer description of the contents:
(Norway to implement the Hague convention of 1996)
Bufdir, 19 June 2015
There is every reason to pay attention to the following:
"Ratifikasjon av konvensjonen vil gi Norge et nytt virkemiddel for å forebygge og løse internasjonale foreldretvister, barnevernsaker og barnebortføringssaker – og kan legge til rette for mer langsiktige omsorgsløsninger for de aktuelle barna."
"Det er vedtatt en egen lov om gjennomføring av Haagkonvensjonen 1996, samt endringer i barneloven, barnevernloven og ekteskapsloven. Barnelovens bestemmelse om jurisdiksjon endres slik at «vanlig bosted» blir det generelle jurisdiksjonsgrunnlaget i alle saker om foreldreansvar mv.
Det er videre vedtatt endringer i barneloven som blant annet vil bidra til å forebygge barnebortføring, og motvirke at barn etterlates i utlandet:
• Det presisere nærmere i hvilke tilfeller foreldre må samtykke for at barnet kan flytte til eller ta opphold i et annet land: Barneloven endres for å presisere at samtykke skal innhentes også der et avtalt opphold forlenges eller endres, inkludert der barnet etterlates.
• Det innføres krav om samtykke fra barn over 12 for å kunne flytte til eller ta opphold i utlandet alene – når dette skjer uten forelder med foreldreansvar.
• Foreldre gis rett til å reise sak for domstolen om flytting med barnet ut av landet.
Endringene i barnevernloven innebærer at det kan treffes vedtak om omsorgsovertakelse når et barn har vanlig bosted i Norge, selv om barnet oppholder seg i utlandet. Endringen kan hindre at foreldre unndrar seg et barnevernvedtak ved å reise fra Norge.
Det er også vedtatt å innføre en bestemmelse som gir mulighet til frivillig fosterhjems- og institusjonsplassering i andre konvensjonsland."
(Ratification will give Norway a new tool to prevent and solve international parental disputes, child protection cases and child abduction cases – and can prepare the ground for more long term care arrangements for the children in question.
A law is passed for the implementation of the Hague convention of 1996, as well as changes to the law of parents and children, to the law of child protection, and to the law of marriage. The provision about jurisdiction in the law of parents and children is changed so that "ordinary place of dwelling" is the general basis for jurisdiction in all cases regarding parental responsibility etc.
Furthermore, changes to the law of parents and children are passed which will contribute to the prevention of child abduction, and counteract children being left abroad;
• It is stated in some detail in which cases parents must give consent for the child to move to or stay in another country: The law of parents and children is changed to emphasise that consent must also be obtained when a previously approved stay is extended or changed, including when the child is left abroad.)
• It is required that a child over the age of 12 must consent in order for the child to move to or stay abroad alone – when this takes place without a parent with parental responsibility.
• Parents are given the right to go to court regarding moving abroad with the child.
The changes in the child protection law make it possible to pass a decision about transfer of care to the child protection services when a child's normal place of residence is Norway, even if the child is staying abroad. The change can prevent parents from avoiding a child protection decision by leaving Norway.
A provision is also passed which will make possible voluntary fosterhome and institutional placement in other convention countries.)
'Barneloven' – the law of children and parents – primarily concerns the relationship between the two parents in relation to the child, although the child protection service (the CPS) often does its utmost to interfere and make decisions in such cases too, and certainly not necessarily in the child's best interest. The central statute for people affected by the CPS is 'barnevernsloven' (the law of child protection, officially called 'the child welfare act' in English), and the issues arising when the CPS is planning or have already obtained approval for the CPS themselves having 'parental responsibility' – legal custody.
As will be understood, it will now be open for Norway to act even more fervently towards the authorities of other countries, demanding that children be returned to Norway if they have had their "regular residence here". It will now be much easier to carry this through, probably Norwegians authorities will not even need to go to court about it, as in .
In the case (the thread is mainly kept in Norwegian but there are many links to articles in English), Norwegian CPS first kept the children's uncle, the father's brother, in Norway for months, allegedly to teach him how the children had to be treated, before he was allowed to take the children back to India. These long-winded 'procedures' were kept up, and Norwegian foreign ministry authorities allowed the CPS to decide, in spite of the fact that there was strong, clearly voiced pressure from India, right up to the Indian prime minister, on Norway to let the children go. (Norway has, in other words, given the CPS full sovereignty and refuses to exercise any kind of rule or management over the CPS. In this Indian case, Jonas Gahr Støre, who was Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, said with a laugh that all of Norway's trade interests with India had been in the hands of Stavanger CPS.) In the process to have the children freed from Norwegian foster homes and back to India, extreme pressure was put on the children's mother Sagarika, whom the CPS had completely unjustifiedly branded as mentally ill, to get her to sign away all rights to go to court in India. When she did get back to India, she was treated as an enemy by the children's uncle and the rest of her husband's family, who then had the children with them. Possibly, there was some kind of arrangement between them and Stavanger CPS that they should keep the mother away from the children. Sagarika did succeed, however, in getting competent help from lawyers, medical personnel and local CPS in India, so that she got her children back. The leader of Stavanger CPS, Gunnar Toresen, then said to Norwegian newspapers that that development meant that they would never let children get away to other countries in the future.
In a case the point was explicitly made on the part of Sweden that Swedish CPS still had the formal right of care over the children, even after permission had been given for the children to return to Malaysia. The Swedish social service (= child protection authority) were to receive (and did receive) weekly reports from Malaysia: , and would have been able to intervene as they pleased. Very likely Malaysia had to accept such an agreement when their deputy foreign minister travelled to Sweden to get the children home.
The last two paragraphs translated above from Bufdir's account really speak for themselves:
"The changes in the child protection law make it possible to pass a decision about transfer of care to the child protection services when a child's normal place of residence is Norway, even if the child is staying abroad. The change can prevent parents from avoiding a child protection decision by leaving Norway.
A provision is also passed which will make possible voluntary fosterhome and institutional placement in other convention countries.)"
The Hague convention will give Norway greater power, both legally and in practice. This power Norway will use on other countries in the direction of employing our Western World kind of 'child protection'. Especially, Norway will vigorously make propaganda for this in naïve countries that believe the Nordic 'welfare states' are exemplary.
Norway will make it increasingly difficult to take children abroad at all if the CPS has even started looking at the family, and Norway will carry out increased monitoring. Norwegian CPS is informally active already, under the auspices of the Norwegian Seamen's Churces, in places abroad where there is a considerable Norwegian population, like Spain and Thailand. They send reports home.
Norway will make it increasingly difficult to sign out of the Norwegian census register, if somebody has succeeded in taking their children with them and has left. By refusing to record the move in the register, Norway can and will claim that the child is just "staying/visiting" in another country and still "has its regular place of residence in Norway".
In cases where the other country (the parents' homeland) tries to have the children handed over from Norway, Norway will demand that if so, the children must not be allowed to have anything to do with their parents or other relatives there, but must be placed in foster homes approved by Norwegian CPS or in an institution in the other country. Norway will, like Sweden in the Malaysian case, to be very active in supervising this, and will with energy pursue the children with demands for extradition back to Norway from the other country if the children's lives in the other country does not turn out in a way which pleases Norwegian CPS.