There has been a lot of attention towards the film, Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway.
The film is a work of fiction, even though it is based on an actual case. The case being referred to was resolved a decade ago in cooperation with Indian authorities and with the agreement of all parties involved. To protect the children and the right to privacy the government can not comment on specific cases due to strict confidentiality regulations. However, some general facts must be set right;
- Children will never be taken away from their families based on cultural differences described. Eating with their hands or having children sleeping in bed with their parents are not considered practices harmful to children and are not uncommon in Norway, irrespective of cultural background.
- Child welfare is not driven by profit. The alleged claim that ‘the more children put into the foster system, the more money they make’ is completely false. Alternative care is a matter of responsibility, and not a money making entity.
- The reason for placing children in alternative care is if they are subject to neglect, violence or other forms of abuse.
We sympathize with the affected families, particularly the children. For those involved, there is no denying that the such experiences are difficult. Child welfare cases are not easy. Certainly not for the children, not for the parents and not for the Child Welfare Service tasked with finding the right solution.
Norway is a democratic, multicultural society. In Norway, we value and respect different family systems and cultural practices, also when these are different to what we are accustomed to - apart from corporal punishment in the upbringing. There is zero tolerance for violence in any shape or form.
The Norwegian Child Welfare Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their ethnic background or nationality. The best interest of the child is a guiding principle in all states that have ratified the UN Convention on the rights of the child and it is the paramount principle in all child welfare cases in Norway. The principle is incorporated in our legislation and is also embedded in our Constitution.
Royal Norwegian Embassy