Cablegate: Ambassador's Introductory Meeting with Justice and Police


DE RUEHNY #0071/01 0491245
R 181245Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Ambassador's Introductory Meeting with Justice and Police
Minister Storberget

1. (SBU) Summary: On February 12, the Ambassador met with GON
Minister of Justice and

the Police Knut Storberget. Storberget discussed his Ministry's key
issues, Qcluding Norway's

acceptance of Cuban migrants via the United Nations Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR),

domestic violence, immigration, trafficking, visas, and
intellectual property. End Summary.


2. (SBU) The Ambassador thanked Storberget for the GON's recent
decision to accept, via the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), several Cuban refugees
who had fled to

Guantanamo. Due to the earthquake in Haiti, theQpace in Guantanamo
was urgently needed to

deal with the relief operation. Norway ultimately took three people
even though Norway's

general policy is not to accept migrants from first-world countries
(Norway considered the

migrants to have been on U.S. soil). Storberget stated that he
knows many Cubans and still

remains in contact with them. He said he has travelled to Cuba
seven times before becoming

Minister. He stated he thought the current situation in Cuba under
President Raul Castro would

change but his friends have reported the restrictive environment
remains the same. Storberget

stated that Norwegians were happy with the policy direction of the
Obama Administration and

hoped it would eventually create an open relationship between the
U.S. and Cuban government.

Immigration and Afghanistan

3. (SBU) Storberget stated that another major issue for his
Ministry is reducing the number of

asylum seekers in Norway. He said that, in 2009, Norway nearly hit
a record with 17,000

asylum seekers, and currently there are 20,000 people in refugee
centers. Storberget thinks that

the large number of asylum seekers puts stress on the Norwegian
social services system. He also

spoke specifically about the asylum seekers coming from
Afghanistan. Storberget stated that

seventy percent of asylum seekers from Afghanistan were below the
age of eighteen, however,

there are some that say they are under eighteen but are obviously
older. Norway is looking at

ways to determine ages among asylum seekers. Since most of these
minors leave Norway when

they reach adulthood, the Minister stated that he would prefer to
spend the resources currently

dedicated to these individuals in Afghanistan, rather than in


4. (SBU) Police statistics and reports of crime in the press
generally indicate a shift to more

residential break-ins each year in Norway and that a growing
concern is that the burglaries are

being carried out by groups or gangs from Eastern Europe. When
asked if he saw an increase in

residential break-ins, the Minister responded that overall crime
was going down in Norway. He

stated that most of the thefts were by foreign people, particularly
from Lithuania and Romania,

and that these people travel around different parts of Norway to
commit crimes. According to

Storberget, 950 people are currently in custody for theft-related
crimes, and sixty percent of them

are from Bulgaria and Poland. He said the GON wanted to send them
back to their home

countries but it was difficult to do so under the Schengen system,
and international cooperation

was needed.

Trafficking in Persons (TIP)

5. (SBU) The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the GON's
cooperation on matters

concerning Trafficking in Persons (TIP). Storberget commented that
it was the work of many

ministries, not just the Ministry of Justice. He stated that there
was a decrease in trafficking,

although during the past summer there was a problem with
prostitutes coming from Nigeria and

Bulgaria. When asked how they were travelling to Norway, Storberget
stated that they arrived

on tourist visas. He also noted that many boys and girls who are
asylum seekers were victims of

trafficking but that the children were not comfortable speaking
about their experiences.

Visa Waiver Program

6. (SBU) The Ambassador raised the issue of the outstanding Visa
Waiver Program

information-sharing agreement. Currently, the HSPD-6
terrorist-information sharing

arrangement was agreed to by PST on October 21, 2009, yet no final
approval has yet been

received from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Storberget's aide
claimed the reason for the delay

was because of the change of the Director-General within the Police
Security Services (PST).

The new Director-General, Janne Kristiansen, is having second
thoughts on the agreement and is

reviewing it. [Note: In separate correspondence, Tonje Meinich, the
Ministry's Deputy Director

General for European and International Affairs, explained to ConOff
that Kristiansen and others

have data-protection concerns with respect to the agreement. When
asked, she said the

opposition was not coming from the EU, but was an internal
Norwegian concern similar to

opposition to a recent proposed change to the European Union data
directive. ]


7. (SBU) The Ambassador suggested that Norwegian laws on terrorism
were less restrictive

than in the U.S., but Storberget disagreed. He stated that he
thought Norwegian laws against

terrorism were strong, but terrorism is difficult to investigate
and to prove. Storberget

commented that in order to prevent terrorism and avoid extremism it
is more important to create

a dialogue on the issues causing terrorism than to focus only on
punishment and law and order.

Commenting on President Obama's Cairo speech, he thought the speech
was very important in

preventing terrorism because of its outreach to Muslim people. He
noted the MOJ plans to

present Parliament with a strategy to prevent radicalism in the
Muslim minority community.

Storberget mentioned that he met with Muslim students every three
months for a dialogue on

preventing extremism. The Ambassador and Storberget discussed
outreach to the Somali

community. The Ambassador explained outreach programs that have
helped the Somali

community in Minnesota, particularly promoting Somali involvement
in the police force.

Storberget commented that it was a priority in Norway as well to
have more Somali-Norwegians

on the police force.

Intellectual Property

8. (SBU) The Ambassador raised online piracy (illegal file
sharing), which is widespread and

growing in Norway. Storberget commented that he thinks the
Norwegian laws on illegal file

sharing are tough but illegal file sharing is difficult to
investigate although he was unaware of

how many cases there actually are in Norway. He noted the Ministry
of Culture is currently

reviewing how to investigate illegal file sharing cases and how to
prosecute them.

Domestic Violence

9. (SBU) Storberget was particularly interested in fighting
domestic violence within Norway.

He stated that 1300 children are reported to be directly affected
by domestic violence each week

and many cases are unreported. When asked if domestic violence was
higher in particular

communities, he said it was a Norwegian problem. There was no
detailed breakdown among the

various communities in Norway, particularly the immigrant
community. Storberget's goal is to

get more men involved in preventing domestic violence. He noted it
was always women in

parliament raising concerns about domestic violence, and he wanted
to increase men's awareness

on the issue. The Ambassador suggested that Norway could consider
using public service

announcements similar to those in the U.S. Storberget agreed it was
a good idea. The

Ambassador and Storberget discussed the importance of women getting
legal help and involving

the local communities so that they felt safe after their court
cases. The Ambassador mentioned

that his law firm did pro bono work that involved representing
women affected by domestic

violence when they could not represent themselves. Storberget noted
that they had similar

programs in Norway. Storberget planned on attending a meeting
sponsored by United Nations

Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on domestic violence. The meeting's
purpose is to write an

official letter raising the issues of domestic violence and seeking
recommendations to prevent it.

Storberget asked for U.S. help with the project. Also, Storberget
planned on attending meetings

in Afghanistan and Abidjan to discuss domestic violence within
those countries.

© Scoop Media

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