Adopted Greenlanders demand accountability from Denmark

Adopted Greenlanders demand accountability from Denmark
Adopted Greenlanders demand accountability from Denmark

“The Greenlanders thought they had lent a child to foster parents, but they did not realize that it was for life and that they would not see their children,” lawyer Mads Pramming told the radio P1. Four of his clients, adopted in this context by Danish families, are demanding 250,000 crowns (around 32,000 Swiss francs) from the Danish state, which they accuse of having knowingly facilitated these adoptions.

In 2020, in an interview with the daily “Information”, a former head of social services in Greenland, Alfred Dam, compared the situation on the island in the 1960s to “self-service”. “Adoptions often went like this: the local doctor would say to a woman: ‘You can’t take care of them, you already have five children. Why not have him adopted?” She would then respond: “Aap” – yes in Greenlandic. He was then told where to put his signature. “She was signing that she would never see her child again,” he explained.

A Danish colony until 1953, Greenland then became a constituent territory of the Kingdom of Denmark but its relations with Copenhagen were not established on an equal footing. For several years, Denmark has been exploring its links with the immense Arctic island, which has had the status of an autonomous territory since 2009. In 2022, six Inuit had obtained apologies and compensation, more than 70 years after being separated from their families to participate to an experiment aimed at creating a Danish-speaking elite in Greenland.

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