Juha Sipilä said recent terrible events in Oulu, where police have identified 10 foreign suspects in connection with sexual violence against children as young as ten, should not “stir up hatred” against migrants.
Police in the northwestern city and municipality have noted a increasingly large number of asylum seekers since 2015 contributing to an increase in sexual violence.
Official statistics from 2017 revealed that — nationally — Iraqi and Afghan migrants were overrepresented by up to 40 times amongst sexual assault suspects compared to native Finns.
While acknowledging the rapes had “provoked shock and anger” across the country, the prime minister insisted that “it should be emphasised that the suspected crimes were committed by individuals, not by population groups”. Sadly, none of the suspects are Finns.
Oulu Police Criminal Officer Milla Kynuunniemi said that after the migrant influx, “increased sexual harassment could be seen in the streets”.
In December last year, authorities in Oulu confirmed that ten suspects had been arrested in connection with grooming, rape, and sexual violence carried out against three children under the age of 15. All of the suspects either arrived during the migrant influx or via the country’s refugee quota scheme.
Statistics for the first 11 months of 2018 show that Iraqi asylum seekers and migrants were suspects in a total of 157 sexual offences, making them the most numerous of any foreign group in the statistics — despite only being the third-largest minority in the country, Ilta-Sanomat reported.
“I call for these events not to be used in anger against refugees or people of foreign origin,” Sipilä said in his speech on Monday, telling citizens: “Let me point out that vigilante justice is a crime in the eyes of the law, as is disseminating hate speech.”
The Centre Party leader warned migrants that “serious offences will negatively affect [a migrant’s chances] of obtaining a permanent residence permit”.