Tomas Zdechovsky MEP was motivated to organise the Round Table seminar on 02 June 2015 because of what he had experienced in Norway. The title: Best Interests of Children. Have they been well served in Europe? was addressed by three key people:
- Mairead McGuinness MEP who runs an Office on International Child Abduction and is a Vice-President of the EU Parliament. Always very diplomatic, she insists on listening to the ‘other side’ of the story, but when child-snatching is policy, the ‘other side’ is mis-construed, falsified and covered-up. We can’t blame anybody for not knowing as many cases as we do. But “The issue is above the radar”, she said!
- Cecilia Wikstrom MEP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, who is clearly becoming more and more aware of the problems, especially in Germany where 243 petitions have originated so far. The sad thing here is that the ‘fact finding mission’ by MEPs into Germany and Denmark clearly have not made enough difference.
- Tatjana Zdanoka MEP has cases from seven countries on her file and her office publishes Save the Family – for Russian speakers. She spoke about the Russian speaking children who were taken by the authorities in The Netherlands. I can’t remember where I read that a Minister prided himself with having copied the UK system in the Netherlands! This family addressed the Petitions Committee and was eventually reunited!
Tomas had invited human rights lawyer Marius Reikeras to speak and they had been on the demonstration in Oslo with well over 1,000 people and Stina Toft from Denmark. She told us how one Social Worker simply said
“We take children, because we can.”
I had proposed JUDr Marica Pirosikova, agent of the Slovak government at the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, who had joined the Slovak government to the proceedings to the get the Slovak boys back from the United Kingdom. She used to speak about the UK and Nordic countries. Now she says it’s everywhere.
I had also proposed solicitor Ruby Harrold-Claesson from Sweden. She has been Chair of the Nordic Committee of Human Rights for 17 years, since she speaks all Nordic languages, while being from Jamaica and having studied law in France and in Sweden! She spoke about children who would still be alive, if they had not been put into foster ‘care’ in Sweden. When UK Madeleine Moon MP asked the then responsible Minister Edward Timpson about children dying, he said:
“The number is very low. Only about 50 a year.”
yet these deaths are never investigated, and parents are never compensated…
Petr Mach MEP from the Czech Republic mentioned ‘presumption of innocence’ as a legal principle, that should clearly take precedence over ‘punishment without crime’ and Bulgarian Emil Radev MEP supported our efforts to STOP CHILD-SNATCHING – not surprising after Ellie Poponova mobilised Bulgaria with her story before the Petitions Committee.
Our challenge is always that nobody can BELIEVE the stories we are telling, because
- courts are assumed to deliver JUSTICE
- children and families are assumed to have PRIORITY
- governments are trusted to do the RIGHT thing…
Now the challenge is what difference these EU institutions will make. Fortunately, I now have the support of lawyers from Italy, Romania, Latvia and Czech Republic in Parliament. That is progress and a promising bridge to the lawyers in the Commission who clearly only deal with papers rather than people, let alone Children Screaming to be Heard.