Feel free to copy and paste the letter below into emails and/or personally signed letters. Addresses are at the bottom:
Mr. Erik Ullenhag, Swedish Integration Minister, recently published an open letter regarding the violation of human rights in Sweden. In his letter, he highlights three situations that call for immediate action by the proper authorities: 1. Discrimination against foreigners in particular the Roma people, 2. Abuses against children under the care of the Swedish State, and 3. Unreasonable isolation of children from their biological parents or other loving family members.
We ask you to consider the gravity of these three situations and how they apply to the case of the Johansson family. They have had very little access to their son Domenic and this has been a severe violation of their basic human rights, among other abuses. Domenic’s mother, Annie Johansson (Indian born), along with her husband, Christer Johansson (a Swedish citizen), came to Sweden seeking refuge from the devastating trauma of the 2001 earthquake in India that killed around 20,000 people.
Their son Domenic was born in Sweden, and Annie brought him up in accordance with her customs, raising him at home and opting out of kindergarten. The family planned to return to India and educate Domenic at home during his first year of school with the understanding that this would help him adjust to his new surroundings. Despite the fact that they sought advice and authorization from the Ministry of Education, and even though homeschooling was a legal option at the time, they were continuously harassed by Gotlands Kommun Social Services. In June 2009, after settling the homeschooling case in their favor in court, the family resumed their plans to move to India. Such plans came to a dramatic end when their son was removed without a warrant by uniformed and armed policemen at the airport. The family cooperated with authorities and was tricked into letting go of Domenic. They were told that there was a misunderstanding and that they would get Domenic back within days, but the Social Services denied the reunification even though no evidence was ever found that Domenic had been neglected or abused in any way. On the contrary, the Social Services made every effort to rationalize their actions retrospectively by using the parents’ present, naturally distressed, condition against them.
Annie has been discriminated against over her mothering style, her alleged low intellectual abilities (although she is highly educated) and personal vocation (homemaker). Furthermore, she has been deemed a danger to the well-being of Domenic and his supposed need to adapt to Swedish society because she is a loving mother (who kisses and hugs her son) and because she let her emotions, her sadness and her frustration, be known. The Gotlands Kommun Social Services have used these behaviors which are not typical of Swedish mothers, against her and branded her an inadequate and unhealthy mother. She has not been allowed to demonstrate the falsehood of this perception and, as a result of this xenophobic attitude towards a non-Swedish mother, she has barely been allowed to see or communicate with her only son in the past two years.
Domenic Johansson has suffered physical and emotional deterioration due to the unfounded and cruelly prolonged isolation from his parents, extended family, and friends. He has not been allowed to even keep contact with other relatives and friends, which violates the general rules outlined in the 22 § tredje stycket SoL. All this has been done without a single report stating that Domenic has been neglected or abused physically, emotionally or intellectually. Please note also that the parents have been cooperating with social workers in hopes of being reunited with their son, but to no avail.
While in the care of Social Services, Domenic has been taken on several occasions to the hospital with stress-induced vomiting, the result of forced isolation from his biological family, which had constituted his sense of security and basic emotional identity. Please remember that Domenic has both a Swedish father and an Indian mother with strong extended family ties. Taking that into account, consider the following: A “[b]oard should be particularly vigilant with regard to immigrant children since many of them come from cultures where family membership has a different meaning than we are accustomed. A broken contact with family and community may at worst lead to isolation and disorientation in adulthood (Bill 1989/90: 28 p. 73).”
Finally, we demand a proper investigation into the handling of this case. In particular, an investigation of the actions taken by the Gotlands Kommun Social Services in connivance with the court appointed lawyers of Domenic Johansson (Eva Ernstson), Christer Johansson (Lars Dahlstrom) and Annie Johansson (Shantu Brahmbhatt). In direct defiance of Swedish and European Union laws, Gotland City Courts have refused Johansson's guaranteed rights by rejecting their right to be represented by the lawyer of their choice. They have instead appointed lawyers with little previous experience, who uncritically accepted social services statements regarding physical and psychological state of child and parents even though they were not corroborated by experts and who, therefore, undermined their client’s rights to a fair trial.
List of addresses
To Hennes Majestät Drottning Silvia
SE-111 30 Stockholm
Hennes Kungliga Höghet Kronprinsessan Victoria
SE-111 30 Stockholm
103 59 Stockholm
Telefon 08-120 20 700
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO)
Box 16327, SE-103 26 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4
Fax: +46 8 21 65 58
Hanna Westerén (President of the Social Board)
621 81 Visby
Lars Åkerlund (1st vice-president)
Stefan Wramner (2nd vice-president)
Swedish embassies and consulates
Click on this link and scroll down to find the Swedish Embassy or Consulate nearest to you