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More kids abducted from Sweden: report

Published: 31 Oct 2011 08:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Oct 2011 08:21 GMT+01:00

Over 100 children have been abducted and taken overseas by one of their parents in each of the past two years, reflecting a significant rise on on 2006, according to a report by Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme.

The Swedish foreign ministry is currently working with 134 ongoing cases regarding the abduction of children by one of their parents in recent years.

So far this year 100 children have been taken out of the country, continuing a rising trend from 2010 which saw 108 children whisked away.

The figures indicate a significant rise on 2006 when 72 children were abducted.

The foreign ministry explained the increasing trend as due to changing migration habits, increased travel and more marriages which span international marriages.

According to the foreign ministry the best chance of locating an abducted child is if he/she has been taken to one of the 80 signatories to the Hague Abduction Convention which came into force in 1980.

The primary intention of the Hague Convention is to preserve the status quo child custody arrangement which existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal.

The foreign ministry advises that if a child has been taken to a country which is not a signatory to the convention, repatriation is further complicated.

Sweden ratified the convention in 1989.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:58 October 31, 2011 by skogsbo
could so easily say 100 have left the country with a non swedish parent, when their family split, perhaps for the better. There is a presumption, the child left against their will and that the child belongs in Sweden regardless of the family situation. Hardly suprising one parent or the other legs it with 'their' child. It's clearly not good for the kids, but Sweden does need to sort itself out over this issue.

Abducted is clearly the wrong word.
11:27 October 31, 2011 by voiceofreason
Completely agree, Sweden is not the only place a child can be raised, and one parent does not need to have his\her life frozen just because they have a child.

Parents should be helped and encouraged not to follow the path of divorce, there is no better way to raise a child than with biological parents who are married and in love.
11:34 October 31, 2011 by rouzi
@ Skogsbo

See, I think the word 'abducted' is appropriate because most of theses cases happen when one of parents is banned/ deprive of having the custody or even seeing his/her child.

The thing that is clearly suggested itself here is the increased level of divorce and separation in Sweden. Furthermore, there is a need to investigate the court system and laws to see if they are fair.

.what the minster suggest ''marriages which span international marriages'' is a bit strange for me. At least it is not match to my personal observation. I do not think swedes are more eager to go in relation with foreigner comparing to the past.
11:59 October 31, 2011 by skogsbo
abduction, is done against their will, if these kids were happy to go with that particular parent and wanted to live in X country, then it's not abduction.

If overseas parents thought they would get a fair hearing over custody in Sweden, then I'm sure a lot of these cases would never occur. But, there is a general perception (probably based on fact) that the foreign parent stand little chance of winning custody against a Swedish parent, who wishes to keep the child in Sweden. This is regardless of which sex the parent is, or who can provide best for the child or most importantly, where the child will be happiest.

Rouzi, the swedish state often deprive the overseas parent access to their child/s unless they come to Sweden to visit them, in these cases Sweden wants to have it both ways.
12:50 October 31, 2011 by karex
It is officially defined as abduction. In many countries children below a certain age have no leagl responsibility and therefore cannot decide about events which can have a significant impact on their future. The definition is internationally agreed. In Brazil for example, one parent cannot leave the country with the children unless given a judge's permission based on the other parent being aware and in agreement with the travel. This law was put in place PRECISELY to stop one parent from taking a child away from the other without consent. When there is a divorce and parents are awarded joint custody, or one parent custody with the other having visitation rights, or even the other being banned for seeing the children in case of proven abuse, it is illegal to take action which goes against a court ruling.

Having said that however, what needs to be reviewed in Sweden is when cases happen the other way around: when a Swedish parents steals a child in another country from the other parent and comes running to Sweden. In these cases I have never seen Sweden cooperate to find the child in question.
12:51 October 31, 2011 by rouzi
@ Skogsbo

What you say is correct. Even so, as we do not know about the situation of all so called abducted children and their wills, we have to assume they have kidnapped. Secondly, acting against law whether it is a fair law or not is an criminal act.

I am completely agree with you that there is discrimination about foreign parents. Even though, I am sure both you and me are agree as well that taking children in this shape neither help to solve the discrimination issue nor it is gonna help the children really.

The continues law breaking has in fact convinced Sweden authority that theses parents were not qualified to keep children. ( They do not look to the law they assume the law is a correct one.) Additionally, it has led to establishment of stereotypes that all foreigners will act the same and if something happens they immediate accuse them of being guilty.

Furthermore, it is good to have in mind that in most of custody cases, the fight between parents pass the logical thought and they want to be only the winner without thinking about their children welfare.

I see and understand the stupidity of law in this case but I can not understand the selfishness of a mother or a farther who separates his/her child from his/her mother or a farther while there is no danger for the child.
13:45 October 31, 2011 by Opinionfool
@voieofreason

"there is no better way to raise a child than with biological parents who are married and in love."

Not sure that anthropologists would agree with that assertion. Many tribal cultures operate a completely different child-care model.

And the view of the nuclear family (loving husband and wife and 2.4 children) is the perfect environment to raise children is a myth. Social mobility and the individuated nuclear family is a feature of the late 20th century. It isn't the historical norm --- even in the developed west. Until around the mid 1960s moving away from the larger family group (grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings and their children) was not common. Children were not raised by their biological parents alone. The family as a whole had a hand in it. Indeed in poorer urban parts in the developed west the larger family unit still holds sway and influences a child's upbringing.

But if we are to idealise the nuclear family then regulation needs to be developed that copes with divorce and any further social mobility wherein one partner moves away from the other. And if that move is trans-national border then cooperation between governments is required in framing those regulations.
14:59 October 31, 2011 by skogsbo
kar, rou, opi, I agree but if the Swedish government doesn't take the first step and form an unbiased panel with representatives from both nationalities siting on it to resolve these cases fairly, then parents will still turn and run, it's human instinct and you can't defeat the drive of a parent - regardless of what law they make break. Most parents would happily risk a year or two of prison, given the choice of not seeing their kids again or having to fight a system that is against the non swede, especially if the non swede is a guy, then you have even less chance of balance hearing.

Granted parents in tribunals do think it's about them winning and not the kids future happiness or how they might view all of it when they grow up. That's the problem there are courses and licences for driving, guns etc. but anybody can chuck out as many kids as like !!!
20:48 October 31, 2011 by BeenThereWentHome
The Hague Convention isn't worth the paper it is written on. My children were abducted from England to Sweden but the Stockholm District Court decided they hadn't been abducted under the convention as our move, costing thousands of pounds, enrolling the children in school, with doctors etc. was only temporary!

I just hope those in similar circumstances to mine get some resolution and keep contact with their children...
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