Greenland. UN Children’s Fund UNICEF declared in January that Greenland violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF referred to a study that showed that about a tenth of the Greenlandic children live in misery. At the beginning of the year it was also found that Greenland has more violence than any other society in the world, according to reported cases per 10,000 residents. When it came to murder, Greenland was in fourth place in the world. The violence was usually associated with alcohol consumption, according to police.
In May, the European Parliament decided that member states should stop importing seal products, which was received negatively in Greenland.
Before the transition from so-called home rule to expanded self-government in June, new elections to the County Council were announced. The election, held June 2, became a landslide victory for the left-wing party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA). Social Democratic Siumut’s historic loss of power in the election was assumed to be due to several corruption scandals. The bourgeois party Democrats lost nearly half of their electoral votes and stayed at just under 13 percent and four seats. IA took close to 44 percent of the vote and 14 of the County Council’s 31 seats. Siumut declined sharply, staying at just over 26 percent and nine terms. IA’s desire to bring Greenland to independence faster than other parties is believed to have contributed to the success. IA’s party leader Kuupik Kleist, who pushed for better health care and social care, was also considered to play a big part in the party’s victory.
On National Day 21 June, Greenland officially switched to expanded self-government. Danish Prime Minister and Queen Margrethe participated in a solemn ceremony in Nuuk, where the queen handed over the new autonomy law. It states, among other things, that Greenlandic becomes the official language and that the islanders are given the right to decide for themselves if and when they want independence from Denmark. Greenland is also granted ownership of oil and gas deposits under the seabed.
In the Danish Folketing’s defense settlement during the year, there were plans to strengthen the Danish military presence in Greenland and establish an Arctic intervention force and an Arctic command. Critics saw the plans as an unnecessary militarization of Greenland, which could contribute to race armor in the Arctic, including the Russian Federation as a player.
In November, a research study was presented that showed that Greenland’s glaciers are melting ever faster since the mid-1990s. From 2006 to 2008, over 800 billion tonnes of ice melted into water. The melting rate is expected to increase, according to researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.