Displacement, Relocation, and the Legacies of Colonialism: A Human Rights-Based Approach to Disaster Risk Management in Greenland

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In Greenland, the agricultural, social, and political legacy of colonialism has led to the systemic loss of traditional knowledge, and damaged the social fabric of its Indigenous Peoples. The introduction of a European and anthroprocentric world view, and legal system, disrupted otherwise strong societal resilience, increased disaster risk, and led to instances of forced relocation and evictions. The consequent entrenched distrust of centralized authority alongside significant geographical distance from the (better-resourced) state authority has continuing implications for disaster risk reduction, recovery and response. At the same time, private sector engagement is intensifying in precisely these locations as resource and energy scarcity drive companies to exploit potential opportunities in “new” territory, raising questions about disaster risk creation. As the consequences of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples both persist, and continue to be revealed, this article assesses whether and how rights-based approaches could be more effectively employed to underpin disaster policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYearbook of International Disaster Law
Issue number1 Thematic Issue on Human Rights
Pages (from-to)77-100
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 May 2024

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