Bodnariu case: European watchdog to investigate authorities after Christian couple reunited with their children

The Bodnariu family.

The treatment of the Bodnariu family by Norway's child welfare service or Barnevernet is to be investigated by a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

The five children of Ruth and Marius Bodnariu were taken from them last November over allegations that they had spanked them, which is illegal in Norway. It was also widely reported that the couple's Pentecostal faith was an issue in the removal. Following international protests and a campaign of support that saw demonstrations outside many Norwegian embassies, Barnevernet has agreed to return all the children.

The case has been linked to many others in which children of mixed ethnicity parents have been removed; Marius Bodnariu is from Romania. Three members of the Romanian delegation to PACE, Senators Ben-Oni Ardelean, Titus Corlatean and Viorel-Riceard Badea, initiated the investigation by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

According to Ardelean: "The report will consider to which extent the abusive measures taken by the Childcare Social Services (Barnevernet) from Norway are compatible with the Council of Europe standards in this specific field, and the resolution, which will draw the main conclusions from the report, will make concrete legislative recommendations to the Norwegian competent authorities."

He told The Federalist that in spite of the return of the Bodnariu children, "the system is still producing victims".

He said: "We should be always vigilant and keep sacred the human rights, freedoms, and values in our democratic societies."