Greenland survivors of cruel colonial experiment demand justice — Analysis

Six Greenlanders from Greenland have asked for compensation from Denmark over a social experiment they participated in in 1950s that resulted in them being separated from their families, and then educated in Europe.

Mads Pramming spoke on Monday as a lawyer representing the Inuits. He said that he will file a lawsuit against Denmark for its colonial-era experiment. If Copenhagen does not respond within the next two week,  

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Politiken was informed daily by him that his clients were happy. “lost their family life, their language, their culture and their sense of belonging,”This was also added to “a violation of their right to private and family life, in accordance with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The six survivors each want €33,600 ($37,800), their lawyer says.

In 1951, 22 Inuit children were separated from their homeland and taken to Denmark, enticed with the promise of a good education worthy of Greenland’s future elite. Copenhagen wanted the children to be role models in Greenland. Sixteen of the children are alive today; all six are now in their 70s.

They were all adopted by an orphanage after they arrived back in Greenland. Many of the children never saw their parents again. 

Denmark issued an official apology to the world for this experiment in December 2013. “We cannot change what happened. But we can take responsibility and apologize to those we should have cared for but failed to do,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. 

Helene Thiesen was in her 70s when she discovered the reason why she was removed in 1996. Thiesen said to the BBC that she had never reconnected with her mother.  

Greenland was an independent territory until 1953 when it became a Danish colony. 

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