Six Inuit snatched by Denmark 70 years ago demand compensation

Six Inuit who were snatched from their families in Greenland and taken to Denmark 70 years ago are demanding compensation from Copenhagen for a lost childhood.

In 1951, Denmark took 22 children from its former colony away from their families, promising them a better life and the chance to return to Greenland as part of a new Danish-educated elite.

Six survivors of the 22, now in their 70s, are each demanding €33,600 (£28,200) as compensation in a letter to the Danish prime minister.

“They lost their families, their language, their culture and their sense of belonging,” their counsel, Mads Pramming, told the newspaper Politiken.

Once they returned to Greenland, they were placed in orphanages even though they had parents. Many of them lost touch with their families completely.

“It was a violation of their right to a private life, a family life” in line with the European convention on human rights, Pramming said. He added that he would give the prime minister’s office two weeks to respond, after which he would sue.

Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953 but is now autonomous.

In December, Mette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, formally apologised, saying: “We cannot change what happened, but we can assume our responsibilities and apologise to those we should have taken care of but failed.”

Denmark’s social affairs minister, Astrid Krag, told Politiken the apology was “key” and that it was “important that we learn from past errors so that history does not repeat itself”.

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