NORWAY BREACHES THE INTERNATIONAL LAW

ARTUR STELMASIAK

It concerns the issue of dr. Sławomir Kowalski who has been a consul in Norway for nearly 5 years. His diplomatic service appreciated by Polish Diaspora living there, thanks to which he was awarded with the title of the Consul of the Year 2016. Also the last report of the Supreme Audit Office considers the actions of diplomats in Oslo as an example to follow, who defend rights of Poles living there with devotion. It mainly concerns interferences into the issues of taking away children from Polish families. It is estimated that dr. Kowalski helped about 150 children of Polish citizenship. And just for this reason he deserves the diplomatic immunity as a consul of the Republic of Poland, as employees of the controversial office Barnevernet claim. As a result, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry addressed the Polish authorities with a request to dismiss the consul within 3 weeks.

Warsaw reacted suitably and definitely and refused to dismiss the consul. In this issue the chief of diplomacy, among the others, Jacek Czaputowicz and the very prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki took on a definite attitude. – All over the world we are going to fight for the fate of Polish citizens; this is the opinion of ambassadors and consuls and we will not surely resign from it – said the chief of the government.

The issue of consul Kowalski moved the public opinion in Poland and much more the Polish Diaspora and the very Norwegians. Therefore, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry began to excuse itself that the reason for the decision about dismissing the consul is ‘incompatible with the role of the diplomat in a few matters, including his unsuitable behavior towards the public functionaries’.

It concerns an incident which happened in June 2018, when the consul was not allowed to save a Polish child by employees of Barnevernet and police. The Norwegians usually complain about the consistent behavior of a consul in such cases but according to a video recorded by the Institute for Legal Culture ‘Ordo luris’ nobody but them have a serious problem with following the law. – We were analyzing this video and the attitude of the consul is an example to follow. He explains employees of Barnevernet, and later the police the international law which should be followed by Norwegian officials. Unfortunately, the police is aggressive and forces the diplomat to leave the room in which there is the Polish child – says the president of ‘Ordo luris’, an attorney Jerzy Kwaśniewski who monitors family matters in Norway. – There was a violation of bodily integrity of the diplomat, but mainly breaching the law is making it impossible for him to meet Polish citizens. It was a clear breaching the Vienna Convention about consular relations. In the light of revealed videos – in the opinion of the employees – accusations towards the consul are unjustified and people who are making them, can be sued for defaming. Dr. Kowalski behaved properly – kindly but he was firmly demanding following the law according to the international convention. – The strong attitude of our government about dr. Kowalski is very good as it gives a clear sign to consular services that they are supposed to defend rights of Polish citizens all over the world – says the attorney Kwaśniewski.

The actions of Barnevernet have been raising controversies for a long time. In 2018 the Tribunal of Human Rights in Strasburg gave a verdict in which it pointed out that Norway breaches human rights.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 5/2019 (3 II 2019)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl