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Resolution on Hingitaq 53

HINGITAQ 53

RESOLUTION OF THE

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES GATHERED AT THE 2002 7th SESSION

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

WORKING GROUP ON THE DRAFT DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Whereas, the Inughuit of the Thule District of North Greenland were forcibly removed from their traditional homelands in 1953 in order for the Thule Air Force Base to be constructed by the United States government, putting their lands at serious risk; and

Whereas, the announcement of the forced relocation of the Inughuit took place only days before Greenlanders were granted Danish citizenship on June 5, 1953; and

Whereas, the Inughuit have and continue to suffer physical, emotional, financial and political damages for almost fifty years; and

Whereas, the Inughuit have organized themselves under the name Hingitaq 53 and filed a lawsuit against the Danish Government for the violations of their rights and for compensation, now commonly referred to as the "Thule Case"; and

Whereas, the Danish High Court acknowledged the wrongs perpetrated by the Danish government and awarded a meager compensation and further acknowledged that the land was taken illegally from the Inughuit; and

Whereas, unfortunately the Danish High Court rejected the right of the Inughuit to return to their traditional lands, territory and resources; and

Whereas, the Inughuit are presently requesting that the Danish Supreme Court to direct the Danish government to return the ancestral lands of the Inughuit to the rightful owners and to reconsider the inadequate compensation; and

Whereas, we understand that the Inughuit have also pursued communications within the International Labour Organization, the Human Rights Committee, and that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has also taken an interest.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the indigenous peoples gathered at the 7th session of United Nations Commission of Human Rights Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, January 28-February 8, 2002, unequivocally support the Inughuit of Thule, Greenland and Hingitaq 53 in their legal proceedings and demands for return of their ancestral lands and compensation for the adverse impacts caused by the illegal taking of land and forced removal and relocation of the Inughuit.

On behalf of the Indigenous Caucus, Geneva, February 5th 2002.

Mattias Ahren                        Tarcila Rivera

Chairperson                            Co-chairperson