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18 Jan, 2016 16:17

Refugee boys should be taught about sex, LGBT rights and gender equality – Swedish campaigners

Refugee boys should be taught about sex, LGBT rights and gender equality – Swedish campaigners

In the wake of the controversy over the alleged Cologne attacks on women, a Swedish Sex-Ed group is seeking to launch a training program to teach young refugee boys arriving in the Nordic country about sexual health and rights.

“The majority of the unaccompanied youths are in their late teens. Many have been on the run for several years before coming to Sweden, and some have been subjected to sexual abuse during flight,” Kristina Ljungros and Maria Andersson, two leading campaigners with the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU), the country's leading group in the field of sexual health and rights, said in an Op-Ed for the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

A total of 35,369 refugee children arrived in Sweden without their parents last year, according to the country's migration agency, Migrationsverket.

“They have rarely had an opportunity to learn about sex and relationships because of lack of education, or they were in a school system that lacks sex education. The need for knowledge from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and condoms to abortion rights, equality, law and LGBT rights is acute,” Ljungros and Andersson wrote.

“A large [proportion] of these unaccompanied boys come from societies with norms around gender and sexuality that differ from mainstream Swedish society in many ways,” they added.

Omid Mahmoudi, from the Swedish Ensamkommandes Förbund association, which represents young asylum seekers arriving in Sweden on their own, criticized RFSU's educational proposal, however.

“It's true that it's about power and masculinity. But there's no cultural difference in the view on sexual assaults. That's completely unacceptable in all cultures,” he told the TT newswire, according to The Local.

“More sexual education isn't needed. It's totally wrong to lump all unaccompanied children together. They come from different countries and different cultures. Some are educated while others have grown up in the street and never gone to school,” he added.

In 2014, 20,300 sexual offences were reported in Sweden, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. A total of 6,700 of these offences were classed as rape. Exposure to sexual threats is said to be significantly more common among women than among men, and is most common in the 16-19 and 20-24 age brackets.

Earlier this week, the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) wrote that the police failed to inform the public that there were 38 reports of rape and sexual assault filed after the We Are Sthlm festivals in 2014 and 2015. The free festival, named after the Swedish capital’s postal code, is held annually for people aged between 12 and 17.

Allegations of a police cover-up of sex crimes reportedly committed by refugee youths at teen music festivals in Stockholm will not be investigated by the Swedish prosecutor’s office, it announced Thursday.

Several European nations have been trying to cope with the problems associated with accommodating hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa. “Hundreds” of sex crimes committed by refugees were reported in the Germany city of Cologne after New Year’s Eve, while police claimed for several days that the night’s celebrations had gone smoothly.