Tuesday, November 04, 2003
US Bases and Lost Property

Another ally of the United States appears to have displaced indigenous populations in order to establish or expand US bases. Now the Inuit in Greenland are taking their case for the return of their hunting and fishing grounds to a Danish court concerning the US base at Thule.

In the court's biggest civil case to date, the Inuits are demanding the return of their lucrative hunting and fishing grounds plus damages of 234 million kroner (31 million euros, 36 million dollars) for losses incurred since their expulsion in 1953.

The 187 families were forced by the Danish government to leave the village of Dundas, known as "Uummannaq" in Inuit, against their will and with no compensation, and transposed to Qaanaq, more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) to the north, after the United States decided to extend the security perimeter around its Thule radar base.

In a story familiar to the Chagossians, natives that got in the way were removed. Their property rights, based on communal usage, were not respected in the original accord. It is doubtful that Thule will be closed down but there is a case for the Danish government to compensate them for their expropriation. The US should also contribute and come to an agreement with the original inhabitants.

(4th November 2003, 23.25)


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