UN expert calls for strengthening social cohesion and international solidarity: Denmark and Greenland


Social cohesion in Denmark and Greenland must be strengthened through international solidarity, a UN expert said today.

“The Danish and Greenlandic Governments must pursue coordinated solidarity policies to enable groups in vulnerable situations, including women, children, persons with disabilities, LGBTI people, refugees, migrants, minorities, and Indigenous People to fully enjoy rights under the core human rights treaties,” said Cecilia M. Bailliet, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity in a statement at the end of a 11-day official visit to Denmark and Greenland.

She said she appreciated Denmark’s commitment to being a dedicated partner of multilateralism and strong supporter of international solidarity, including by participating in Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP) to help countries in different regions of the world transition from coal to renewable energy and supporting climate partnerships. Further, Bailliet recognises the unique contribution by the Danish Youth Council that promotes “international solidarity by youth for youth” around the world, supporting democratic engagement and enjoyment of human rights.

She also acknowledged initiatives by the Municipality of Copenhagen to promote job creation, inclusion, and end hate speech. The facilitation of peaceful international solidarity marches through the use of dialogue policies by the Danish Police before, during, and after events is notable in an epoch in which civil society spaces are increasingly being closed in many countries, the expert said.

In Greenland, the Special Rapporteur said she witnessed empowering solidarity policies in action, including the dissemination of law and legal institutions to teachers and students in Greenlandic language by the High Court, to encourage them to study law. UNICEF in Greenland provides “democratic Nakuusa forums” in which Greenlandic children can pick issues to discuss and pass resolutions to present to State authorities who are in turn required to respond.

Bailliet also raised concerns about some key solidarity challenges, including structural discrimination against and stereotyping of Inuits and Greenlandic persons, high rates of domestic violence and sexual violence against women and children in Greenland, the shift of the Migration Policy to temporary status and return of forced migrants, gender vulnerability in the context of migration, the risk of criminalising international solidarity activists, and a need to strengthen good faith implementation of the Core Human Rights Treaties to protect individuals and groups in vulnerable situations.

“State, civil society and corporate actors must engage together to achieve a more inclusive and active participation in solidarity actions both at the national and international level, which are essential to break the cycle of discrimination and inequality,” she said.

Bailliet recommended that the Inuit community and the Greenland Parliament discuss the creation of a Truth Commission. She also urged the Danish Government to step up efforts to end stereotyping of Greenlandic people within State institutions and society in Denmark.

Bailliet will submit a comprehensive report on her visit to Denmark and Greenland to the Human Rights Council in June 2025.

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