Norway's child protection body under heavy criticism

Norway has faced high number of child welfare cases at European Court of Human Rights over practices of Barnevernet

Saadet Firdevs Apari  | 23.05.2022 - Update : 23.05.2022
Norway's child protection body under heavy criticism


The Norwegian Child Welfare Services (Barnevernet) has long been criticized by many over its controversial decisions, particularly against migrant families.

Since 2015, Barnevernet's practices, mostly taking away children from their families by citing "abuse," have highly been criticized inside and outside of the country.

Lack of relevant evaluations and ignoring the cultural differences while deciding on cases of "child removal" are among the main reasons behind the criticisms.

On Sept. 10, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rules that Norway violated the right to respect for private and family life that is protected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mariya Abdi Ibrahim case

The son of Mariya Abdi Ibrahim, a Muslim refugee from Somalia, was forcefully taken by Norwegian authorities in 2010 over "neglect and abuse" and later adopted by a Christian family.

In 2019, the Strasbourg-based rights court found that Oslo had not done enough to keep the mother and son together and the decision also triggered some changes in Norway’s related regulations.

The court also ordered Norway to pay Ibrahim €30,000 ($32,000) in damages.

Over the "arbitrary attitude" of the Barnevernet, Norway has faced a high number of child welfare cases at the ECHR.

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