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Arthur Kubik & Jerzy Kwaśniewski

 

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo confirmed the shocking reports by the Polish and Norwegian media about the Norwegian government’s request for recall of Polish Consul Sławomir Kowalski, well known for providing dedicated support to many Polish citizens in Norway, from his post in Norway.

 

The position of the Norwegian authorities outraged the Polish community in Norway as well as their numerous friends among Norwegians, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and many other supporters of the family life guarantees violated by Barnevernet in Norway. They have already supported Consul Sławomir Kowalski with more than 20 000 signatures under the Polish language petition.

 

The attempt to recall Sławomir Kowalski from the position of Consul of the Republic of Poland is a serious blow to Polish families living in Norway. The Polish diplomat regards his service as his true vocation. His involvement in defending Polish children and the dignity of the Polish family abroad was appreciated across political party lines. Appointed to the post in Oslo by former liberal government, he received the Andrzej Kremer "Consul of the Year" award from the new conservative Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2016.

 

For years, Consul Kowalski has been extremely effective in defending Polish families, especially those persecuted by the Barnevernet Office, criticized by international community (i.a. the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Strasbourg Court) for human rights violations. The Consul’s actions are in accordance with Polish interests as well as national and international consular law. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations clearly states that the function of the Consul is ‘protecting the interests of the sending State and of its nationals’ and safeguarding ‘the interests of minors and other persons lacking full capacity who are nationals of the sending State’ (Article 5 a) and h)). In particular, a Polish consul is obliged to provide assistance and support to Polish citizens, including the protection of minors (Article 5(h) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations).

 

The Norwegian authorities appear not to remember the situation from last year when Norwegian policemen used force against the Consul. He was pushed out of a premises where a Polish child was kept by the Barnevernet. Thus, the child’s right to contact the Polish consul was violated. We understand, therefore, that the effective and resolute activity by Consul Sławomir Kowalski has become inconvenient for certain officials in Norway.

 

There are certainly no grounds to demand the Consul’s recall from the country. Although the spokesman of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs admitted that Consul Kowalski is not obliged to leave the post in Oslo, Norwegians are insisting that the Polish diplomat be relieved of his duties.

 

Therefore, in the present difficult situation, on behalf of the trade union Solidaritet Norge and the Ordo Iuris Institute, we kindly ask you to sign this petition to the Norwegian Prime Minister as an expression of support for Consul Sławomir Kowalski and numerous families protected by his dedicated service. Petition will be sent also to the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Your statement is of great importance, since there is still a chance that the matter may be resolved successfully!

 

Artur Kubik, Chairman of Norge Solidaritet

Adv. Jerzy Kwaśniewski, President of the Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture

 

Dear Prime Minister,

 

I am deeply outraged by the Norwegian government’s request for recall Dr. Sławomir Kowalski from the consular post in Oslo as confirmed by Norwegian and Polish media. More than 20 000 supporters of Sławomir Kowalski already signed a Polish petition “Stańmy Murem za Konsulem”.

 

Dismissal of this exceptional diplomat from his duties as a Consul of the Republic of Poland would be a serious blow to Polish families living in Norway. Dr. Kowalski regards his service as his true vocation. His involvement in defending Polish children and the dignity of the Polish family abroad was appreciated across political party lines. In 2016 he received the Andrzej Kremer "Consul of the Year" award from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Justifying the award, the Ministry indicated that it was "a tribute to all those who fight for Polish children and the dignity of the Polish family abroad".

 

Dr. Kowalski has been recognized as a man of great commitment to serve the Polish citizens living in Norway. In his role, he was a dedicated and respectful servant of his fellow countrymen persecuted by Barnevernet, the Norwegian Children’s Office currently receiving criticism from the international community. In 2018 alone, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg discussed the violations of human rights’ standards by Barnevernet.

 

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations clearly states that the function of the Consul is "protecting the interests of the sending State and of its nationals" and to safeguarding “the interests of minors and other persons lacking full capacity who are nationals of the sending State” (Article 5 a) and h) ).

 

For the above reason, I appeal to the Prime Minister of Norway to stop taking actions against Dr Sławomir Kowalski and to respect his consular rights and, therefore, the rights of the Polish citizens in Norway.

 

Yours sincerely

 
 
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