Czech President Miloš Zeman has agreed with Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek on the text of a new draft treaty according to which children with Czech citizenship living in Norway should be handed to their parents, the president said on Friday during his visit to the Liberec region. The Foreign Ministry's lawyers said the old version was in conflict with international treaties and principles of international law. Mr Zeman presented the first version of the draft treaty in January in reaction to the cases of Norwegian authorities taking children with Czech citizenship away from their parents.
The organisation Liga otevřených mužů, League of Open Men, are currently running Dry February, a campaign aimed at encouraging Czech men to abstain from alcohol for the month. To find out why, I spoke to the group’s Lukáš Talpa. Our conversation also took in a wide range of other gender issues, including stay-at-home fatherhood and the lack of male teachers in Czech schools. To begin, I asked Talpa to characterise Czech men in general.
There are over half a million single parent families in the Czech Republic, due both to a high divorce rate and many children being born out of wedlock. Almost half of these families live on the poverty threshold or under it, literally living from hand to mouth from one pay check to the next. What adds to the problem is the fact that a high number of people simply refuse to pay alimony, leaving the single parent to struggle on their own for years.
A Norwegian court has ordered the country’s child welfare services to return a nine-month-old baby to its Czech-Norwegian parents. The decision was confirmed by the spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The baby, who is awaiting a kidney transplant, was taken from the parents a number of weeks ago on the grounds the parents had not sufficiently bonded with the infant. Czech lawyer Pavel Hasenkopf said that detailed hospital records had played a key role in overturning the original decision (and what he described as “lies and manipulation” by the authorities). He added the family would release more information about the case in the coming days. The news of the baby’s return to its parents was welcomed by Czech Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has announced he has prepared a draft treaty according to which children with Czech citizenship living in Norway should be handed to their parents, he said in a Sunday debate on Prima TV. The head of state added that the treaty is to help in cases where children with Czech citizenship are taken away from their parents by the Norwegian social service Barnevernet. In January, social services in Norway in January removed a seriously ill nine-month-old baby from the care of its Czech mother and Norwegian father and last year a Norwegian court ruled that two Czech boys were to be put up for adoption. Mr Zeman has previously accused the Norwegian welfare service of kidnapping children.
Not only religion, but also freedom of conscience in the broadest sense can be a reason for parents to refuse the mandatory inoculation of their child, the Czech Republic’s Constitutional Court said in a ground-breaking ruling on Wednesday. The decision concerned parents who were recently fined for having refused to inoculate their child on the ground of possible health complications.
In the past fifteen years 572 Czech children found adoptive parents abroad, according to information released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. 379 of them were boys, 193 girls. The children found new homes predominantly in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Italy. Many of the children had been in children’s homes for over three years and the chance of finding adoptive parents for them in the Czech Republic was small.
President Milos Zeman has accused Norway’s child welfare organization Barnevernet of kidnapping children. In his regular interview from Lany chateau carried by Blesk TV, Mr Zeman said Barnevernet employed gangster-like practices and the Czech government should take stronger action, such as recalling the Czech ambassador to Norway for consultations. The president said the Norwegian ambassador to Prague was not welcome at Prague Castle and would not receive an invitation to his annual meeting with foreign ambassadors.
Over two hundred people gathered outside the Norwegian embassy in Prague on Saturday to protest against Barnevernet’s policy of taking children away from their families. Barnevernet’s policy stirred fresh anger in the Czech Republic after the organization removed a seriously ill nine-month-old baby from the care of its Czech mother and Norwegian father in late December. They said the parents had not sufficiently bonded with the infant, who has a rare genetic condition and is in hospital awaiting a kidney transplant. Last year a Norwegian court ruled that two boys removed from their Czech parents by Barnevernet were to be put up for adoption. The Prague protest is part of a chain of demonstrations against Bernevernet in a number of countries.
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