Listen to Today's Edition
More than 60 women from Greenland are seeking compensation from the Danish government for forced sterilization decades ago, a practice that lasted for more than 50 years, Agence France-Presse reported.
These women, many of them teenagers, were part of a program organized by Denmark to limit birth rates in the Arctic territory by being fitted with intrauterine devices (IUDs) without their consent.
The women say the Danish government violated their human rights and caused them serious harm by subjecting them to these procedures without consent.
They are now demanding compensation of about $42,000 each.
The compensation claims come a year after a series of podcasts by Danish broadcaster DR exposed the extent of this campaign. Based on findings from national archives, around 4,500 young Inuit women had IUDs inserted without their consent or that of their families from 1966 to 1970, with some of them as young as 13, the BBC wrote.
The government of Greenland estimates that, by the end of 1969, 35 percent of women in the territory who could potentially have borne children had been fitted with an IUD. The practice supposedly continued until 1975, but the BBC reported that it continued long after that.
For example, one woman discovered she had been fitted with a coil when she struggled to become pregnant in 2009. Another told the BBC she had been injected with a contraceptive in 2014 without her consent.
A commission is currently investigating these grievances and is set to publish its findings in 2025.
Even so, the women are requesting compensation before then, saying that many of them are aging and cannot wait.
Although no longer a colony since 1953, Greenland remains under Copenhagen’s control and receives significant financial support from Denmark.
In 2022, Denmark apologized and compensated six Inuit individuals who were forcibly separated from their families in the 1950s as part of an experiment to promote Danish-speaking elites in Greenland.