21 October 2009
Dear Mr. Reinfeldt,
I write today to plead with you to consider the continued suffering of 7-year-old Dominic Johansson of Gotland, and respectfully urge you to give immediate attention to resolve this situation and return this child to his home and loving parents without further delay. (dominicjohansson.blogspot.com/).
I have great admiration for Sweden and her people. I was a resident of your great land for 7 happy years, and know something of the intelligence, civility, and fair-mindedness of your society. I observed first-hand the deep respect your citizens show for nature, for all people, and for life itself. I was impressed with the priority and value given to children and family life; which was evident not only in the attitude of the people, but also in the policies of government designed to invest in and protect the family, such as providing maternity and paternity leave, free health care for children, barn bidrag, and so forth. In many ways, Sweden provides a model to the world of a truly enlightened society.
I am therefore deeply shocked and disturbed to learn of the separation of Dominic from his family, and the apparent apathy shown by his local and national government officials to the emotional devastation he continues to receive at the very hands of those who are supposed to protect children from harm.
I believe that it is a mark of an advanced and compassionate society to attempt to protect the defenseless, and certainly there are cases that would warrant temporarily removing a child from a dangerous situation until their safety can be assured.
However, it is a fact well researched and documented that family relationships are "the major source of a child's emotional and physical security" and that "separation can have a devastating social and psychological impact." (quoted from a study commissioned by Unicef). The prolonged separation of a young child from parents with whom they have emotionally bonded is cruel in itself, which is why the right to family unity is included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The separation of a family should be an option of last resort, and only when the child is in immediate danger.
Why then was young Dominic Johansson suddenly and forcibly separated from his parents in the most alarming manner, assisted by police in uniform? And why has this unnecessarily harsh and traumatic treatment continued month after month without being corrected? After four months, all Gotlands socialtjänsten can come up with to justify their extreme (and from what I understand, illegal) actions against familjen Johansson is a weak and vague claim that "pojken isolerats från kunskapsinlärning" (enligt helagotland. se, "Mejlstorm mot socialtjänsten" ).
Even if that were proven to be true, how could that possibly justify perpetuating the agony and distress of this boy and his parents? If socialtjänsten truly has a concern about Dominic's education, they could easily work to amend the situation through a simple dialogue with his parents, instead of destroying the security and emotional health of an innocent young boy.
I beg you to do all within your power to correct this horrible injustice swiftly , and use all means necessary to assist Dominic Johansson in returning immediately to his own parents, so that he may begin to heal and recover from the impact of the traumatic ordeal he has endured.
With deep respect,