REF: Norwegian police say they are investigating “several” cases of children suffering from sexual abuse at asylum-seekers’ reception centers in the country.
Axel Wilhelm Due, from the National Criminal Investigation Services, told The Associated Press news agency on Tuesday that the abuse cases were reported to authorities towards the end of last year, without providing specific figures.
The incidents included abuse by known sex offenders visiting the reception centers, as well as residents of the centres, Due said.
“We are looking very seriously at every individual case, and based on our information it’s very likely that children living in reception centres in Norway have been and are being subjected to sexual abuse,” he said.
“But generally there is low criminal activity in and around the reception centres.”
Due said that police would not provide details about the alleged cases at this stage.
Last year, more than 31,000 people applied for asylum in Norway, of whom 5,300 were unaccompanied minors.
Sweden attack plot
In a separate development concerning asylum seekers in neighbouring Sweden, police said they have detained 14 men on suspicion of preparing attacks on an asylum-seekers centre near the capital Stockholm.
Various weapons, but no firearms, were found in cars during the arrests on Monday evening in Nynashamn, 60km south of Stockholm, police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.
He did not identify the men, but Swedish Radio cited local police officer Lars Alvarsjo as saying they were Polish, and possibly members of right-wing groups.
The arrests come amid increasing opposition to migrants and reports of attacks against refugee centres in the Scandinavian country, which saw 163,000 refugee arrivals last year.
Previously known for its generous immigration policies welcoming refugees fleeing war and persecution, the Social Democratic-led government reversed course late last year by tightening border controls and immigration regulations.
About two weeks ago, the Swedish government said it plans to expel up to 80,000 refugees and migrants whose applications for asylum are expected to be rejected.
The EU Commission voiced support for Sweden’s announcement, with a spokesperson saying member states have an obligation to return people who lack grounds for asylum.