Norwegian No. 5,000,000 Born—and Other Norwegian Child-Related Issues
But the population growth in Norway is due not only to high fertility rate, but also because of immigration. According to the overview from Statistics Norway, immigration surplus accounted for 71 percent of the 2011 growth. Approximately three out of four immigrants come to Norway from other European countries, including Russia. There is also a sizeable Indian community in Norway.
It is Russian and Indian immigrant parents that have stirred some trouble in recent months. In both cases, parents have followed child-rearing practices traditional to their cultures, such as hand-feeding a child, breast-feeding a toddler, or sleeping with a small child in the same bed. As a result, Norwegian Child Welfare Service, Barnevernet, were called in and took children away from their parents, placing them in foster care. In some instances, the parents were later deported, while the children stayed in Norway. The incident involving an Indian couple whose two children were taken into “protective custody” last spring, still debated in Norwegian court, caused diplomatic tensions between Oslo and New Delhi, with the latter accusing the former of unwillingness to appreciate cultural differences.
Russian immigrant parents too have suffered from similar interferences on the part of Barnevernet in what they consider to be purely familial matters. A series of protests against Norwegian Barnevernet have been staged today outside Norway’s embassies in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Murmansk, and Arkhangelsk, with an active participation by the youth organization of the ruling United Russia party “Nashi” and the movement “Russian mothers”. Among the strong slogans in those demonstrations is “The Norwegian child welfare service is Breivik”.
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