News/The Polish GOSC Newspaper: «The Silje Garmo Case: Economic Interests above the Good of the Family?»

The Polish GOSC Newspaper: «The Silje Garmo Case: Economic Interests above the Good of the Family?»

May 29, 2018
The Polish GOSC Newspaper: «The Silje Garmo Case: Economic Interests above the Good of the Family?»President of the Ordo Iuris institute Jerzy Kwaśniewski JAKUB SZYMCZUK / FOTO GUEST


(Translation by Google Translate)

Exactly a year ago, the Norwegian Silije Garmo escaped from her country, protecting herself and her three-month-old daughter in front of the Children's Office (Barnevernet). In Poland, she received the support of Ordo Iuris lawyers, who on her behalf filed an application for granting the mother and daughter asylum protection. The matter met with considerable interest from domestic and foreign media.

In summary, the head of the Office for Foreigners formally recognized that family life protected by international law is at stake in this case, and therefore "there are objective grounds for assuming that granting Ms Silije Garmo and her underage daughter, Eira Garmo, is necessary to ensure protection for foreigners ". In view of the position of the Office for Foreigners, granting asylum protection only requires the Minister of Foreign Affairs to declare that protection of the mother and the child remains "in the interest of the Republic of Poland".

Unfortunately, the officials of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs seem to be of the opposite opinion. In the documents disclosed during the asylum procedure, we find the main arguments based on the assessment of political and economic interests, ignoring the importance of the protection of human rights violated by the Norwegian Barnevernet.

Although clerical opinions confirm that "the issue that casts a shadow on the positive image of Norway in bilateral relations is Norway's policy towards family and childcare and the activities of the Child Welfare Office - Barnevernet (BV) towards Polish citizens and their children in Norway", Human rights, including the right to protection of family life (Article 8 of the ECHR), do not appear to be an equivalent argument to the raised political and economic arguments. The prevailing view is that "in the analysis of the legitimacy of the application of the citizen of the Kingdom of Norway, Silije Garmo, for asylum on the territory of the Republic of Poland, it is necessary to take into account the importance and significance of Poland's political relations with Norway."

Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials indicate that "Poland is interested in the creation of new routes for natural gas transmission from the Norwegian coast, increased imports of Norwegian gas ...". As an argument against granting asylum protection to mother and child, it is said that "Polish companies are present on the Norwegian market. PGNIG Upstream International and LOTOS Exploration & Production Norge have been operating on the Norwegian Continental Shelf for several years and are increasing their activity by purchasing further shares in the fields and participating in licensing rounds. " It is also pointed out that Poland is considered by Norway as "the most important partners", and the "Strategy for cooperation with Poland" adopted by the Norwegian government assumes strengthening Polish-Norwegian cooperation "also through the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refers to the image of Norway as a country observing human rights: "one should take into consideration the fact that Norway is perceived as a state that guarantees in principle a high level of human rights protection, as evidenced by the low number of negative decisions of the ECtHR against this country . Although the problem of the functioning of the Norwegian authorities for the protection of children's rights (Barnevernet) appeared on the forum of the Tribunal, however, it has not yet been unequivocally assessed on its part. " The Ministry of Foreign Affairs neglects at least the recent report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 27 April ( -urzedzie-for-children-barnevernet). The report was commissioned in January 2016 after the shocking and noisy case of the large family of Marius and Ruth Bodnariu, in which the Norwegian Children's Office (Barnevernet) based on anecdotal allegations of violence, without any democratic oversight, issued a custodial decision on the lifting of five children, including a breast-fed infant. " Barnevernet's actions were determined by commissioning the report "final steps that can not be justified before other activities such as environmental intelligence, psychological counseling or mediation are carried out".

In a situation when the Office for Foreigners clearly stated that "there are objective premises to assume that granting asylum to Ms. Silije Garmo and her minor daughter, Eira Garmo, is necessary to ensure the above-mentioned protection for foreigners", it is also difficult to take a good coin the opinion of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to which "granting asylum may cause accusations against Poland as a country that differentiates foreigners applying for protection because of their country of origin and treats them in a discriminatory manner".

The final decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the asylum for Silije and the annual Eira is to be made in the coming days.

"Art. 18 of the Constitution declares that motherhood and parenthood are under protection and protection of the Republic of Poland. Slije Garmo's case is a significant test of fidelity to this systemic principle. This can be summarized to one question: is the protection of the family, motherhood and parenthood today in the interest of the Republic? "- comments adv. Jerzy Kwaśniewski, President of Ordo Iuris.

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