Danish parliament gives Greenlanders the right to know the identity of their fathers

May 19th, 2014

This article is more than 9 years old.

‘Legal orphans’ granted the same rights as other children

The Danish parliament has adopted a law that gives Greenlandic children fathered by Danish men the right to know the identity of their fathers.

Until 1963, a man who fathered a child in Greenland out of wedlock had no legal responsibilities to identify himself and the child could not inherit from the man or his family. These children, now adults, are referred to as ‘legal orphans’.

A long time coming
The law allows the fatherless children the right to know the identity of their fathers and to inherit from his estate, putting them on the same legal footing as other children born out of wedlock. The adoption of the law on paternity and inheritance in Greenland is in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The new law does not grant the children any right to estates of fathers that have already been settled by death, releasing heirs to the estate from the responsibility of reimbursing the child.

READ MORE: No child support refund for Faroese and Greenlandic parents

The law will come into effect on 1 June, and an information campaign will be launched to help those affected find their fathers.


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