The Right to National Self-Determination: The Faroe Islands and Greenland

By Sjúrður Skaale | Go to book overview

8 - The Faroes and Greenland in
UN Documents

Bogi Eliasen

The aim of this chapter is to investigate to what extent The Faroes and Greenland have been discussed in the UN and what information the UN has about The Faroes and Greenland, as well as a general consideration of minority issues in the UN.

Additionally, there is a brief discussion of the 2000 report from the Council of Europe on Denmark, which heavily criticises Denmark for not considering the Greenland and Faroese people who live in geographical Denmark as minorities. The research is based on web searches, treaty language and specific inquiries regarding Greenland and The Faroes.

The position of The Faroes and Greenland in the UN context is not the same. Greenland was originally on the list of non-self-governing territories, but was taken off the list when the Territory of Greenland was formally integrated under the Danish Constitution in 1953. Greenland is categorized differently, as the inhabitants are seen as “indigenous people” and are thus protected under ILO Convention 169 (see Chapter 4 of this volume). Greenland has also participated in Danish UN delegations, while The Faroes have not.

It is important to examine the archives of key international organizations to see what material there is about Greenland and The Faroes, both what may derive from the polities themselves and what information has been provided by Denmark. The UN is the only international organization with a structure for self-determination, and under the Economic and Social Council Denmark has been obliged to provide information on self-determination.

Denmark has made a statement in the UN referring to customary law (Fourth Periodic Report) under the heading Greenland and Danish Foreign Policy : “International treaties concluded by the Danish Government and customary international law bind the Home Rule Authority to the same extent as they do the Government of Denmark, in order to ensure that Denmark and Greenland comply with their international obligations.”1

This clearly indicates that customary law obligates Denmark, and thus the statements about The Faroes and Greenland and the special status of these countries can be seen in a

14th Periodic Report under the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Implementation of the International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”, p. 14, section 25, 28 April 2003.

-169-

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