.... Michael Oparah, age 10, and Grace and Emmanuel Oparah, ages eight and five, respectively, have been separated from their biological parents for over a year and a half now since they were reportedly picked up from their campuses by a Social working group headed by Birgitt Wallin in Gävle, Sweden, Europe.
A Liberian woman who claims that social workers in Sweden took her children away, wants the Liberian government to step in immediately to get her children back in good health.
Charity Korlu Oparah’s children were allegedly seized because she and her husband beat their daughter, Grace Oparah, an allegation she and her husband have since denied.
Michael Oparah, age 10, and Grace and Emmanuel Oparah, ages eight and five, respectively, have been separated from their biological parents for over a year and a half now since they were reportedly picked up from their campuses by a Social working group headed by Birgitt Wallin in Gävle, Sweden, Europe.
Korlu and their husband have not been charged by the Swedish government, and everywhere they have gone, including the police station, they have been denied access to their three kids.
She said that she was ready to leave Sweden with her three children, stating, “I do not need anything. Let me go back to my mother, even if I have to plant cassava, we will live.”
As a mother who feels the absence of her kids, Charity could not hold back her tears when she was being interviewed by The Stage Media (TSM).
She said, “I do not care if they will have to deport me, but I want my children. My children are going through torture.”
“I am sure something else is going on, and I don’t want it to be late. Please come to my aid!” she cried out loud during the telephone interview.
Charity explained that all of the efforts she has applied, including a visit to the Liberian Embassy in Sweden to provide her innocence to the social workers, have resulted in nothingness as her kids are being shifted from the home they were in into others in the name of “caring for them.”
She said the action is against her and her husband’s will, her son was taken to the United States of America, while her daughter is now expected to leave the third home for the fourth one because of the treatment she has been receiving over the period.
“I got a recording of one of the social workers who confessed that adults should not listen to children,” she said on the other side of the phone.
She also said they have in their possession a document that says her daughter has been complaining of being ill-treated in the different homes she was taken to. Also, a document she presented that was interpreted by a friend who understands the Swedish language says that she was accused, but is freed from suspicion and that the investigation is now closed.
In a tone that sounded like she was afraid, Korlu said, “They are abusing my daughter mentally.”
“This document proves that they are breaking their laws,” she said, holding up a piece of paper. They took our children because they claimed we screened them; we physically and mentally abused them, but they empower others to physically and mentally abuse our children. “This is the letter; it constitutes child abuse,” Korlu added.
Charity cried out, “I want the Liberian government to intervene right now.” I do not want my children to be placed in a fourth home. My daughter is no longer well, and she is being transferred to another facility.”
“They kept my children in the third house for six months, and the proof is this letter, and my daughter is currently mentally ill,” she said. I know they want to do bad things to my daughter where they want to carry her, and they know.”
She added, “So I want the Liberian government to come in and tell these people to give my children to them, and if they do not want me to live in Sweden, let them deport me and my children.”
Liberia’s government maintains diplomatic relations with the people of Sweden.
The reporter called a contact (0770173801) from the Embassy of Sweden, but each time different individuals answered and did not give any conclusive answer to the plan to book an interview with the Ambassador or provide information to address Korlu’s allegation.
Issues of Human Rights:
According to the TSM investigation, Charity, her husband, and three kids have been living in Sweden for many years now. All three of their kids were born in the European nation and schooled there as well.
Their “happy family life” ended on February 7, 2022, while she was making preparations to pick up her kids from campus.
She was informed by some Social Workers headed by Birgitt Wallin in Gävle, Sweden, Europe, that the kids were no longer going to live with them, the parents.
The Oparahs feel that their rights to their kids and to work have been violated by the Swedish government.
Article 2 of the United Nations Declaration of Rights for all mankind states that “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms outlined in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.”
A status that the Oparahs believe has been violated by Sweden, one of the many nations that want human rights to be respected.
They alleged that their rights have been violated as legitimate parents to their kids for unjust reasons.
Also, Article 5 of the same universal convention of the Rights of Persons states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The aggrieved woman alleged that her kids are being tortured by the social workers without any proof that they, the parents, have ill-treated the kids.
According to her, she received a call from the campus requesting that she not go for the kids as social workers have gone for them.
Later, they were summoned for a meeting, after which they went to court on three different occasions and were “not found guilty.”
Charity said that on December 12, 2022, they appeared in court, but they were told that the parents had done nothing wrong to their kids, furthering that the Swedish government has not told them anything since their kids were taken.
“I want to get out of Sweden, but I cannot leave my children here. Let the government help me, they should not allow my children to die here,” Charity added.
She indicated that people commit suicide when they are not getting redress, “but I will not kill myself. I will keep praying for God to intervene, and they will see me alive.”
The situation is not only a pain for Charity but also for her mother, Betty Mathew, who is back in Liberia.
Betty had hoped that her daughter’s being in Sweden would bring her fortune.
“My daughter has not been charged with any wrongdoing. They only told her that she is a suspect of child abuse, but they have not provided the right evidence or charge against her,” Betty said.
The mother of Korlu being interviewed
While she was being interviewed, Chairty’s mother burst out in tears and said, “God, I wonder if I will see my daughter and my grandchildren again. I do not know anyone; I am from a very poor family,”
She added, “My daughter went so that at least there could be an improvement in my life.”
Betty said, “I want the government of Liberia to stand as a family for me because I am from a poor family to make sure that I get my grandchildren and my daughter.”
Charity is legally living in Sweden after she was sent there by her father, whose home she left after many years and got married with three kids.
The family is now hoping that the government of Liberia uses diplomatic channels to ensure that Korlu and her family get their children back in a foreign land.
What does the government of Liberia say?
Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Liberia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, a cabinet member responsible for directing Liberia’s external relations and the management of its international diplomatic missions, wrote seeking an interview relative to the Liberian lady whose kids were reported confiscated by the Swedish government, a country Liberia has diplomatic relations with, but the minister has yet to reply to any of the messages, although he has read all of them.
Screenshots of messages sent to MOFA’s Minister
TSM also called Assistant Minister, Robert Sammie to provide clarity.
Following a telephone conversation with Sammie, those text messages sent to his boss were also forwarded to him. He promised to call our reporter after making inquiries with his boss, but that has not happened up to this article’s publication.
If there is a response, this article will be updated.
However, Sammie and Kemayah are currently campaigning with incumbent President George Weah for his reelection bid.
This story was produced with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)’s support.