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The Legal Implications of the 2022 Canada-Denmark/Greenland Agreement on Hans Island (Tartupaluk) for the Inuit Peoples of Greenland and Nunavut – The Arctic Institute

by ahnationtalk on January 24, 202347 Views

January 24, 2023

On June 14, 2022, Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Jeppe Kofod, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, along with Múte Bourup Egede, Prime Minister of Greenland, signed an Agreement in Ottawa resolving outstanding boundary issues between the sovereign states of Canada and the Kingdom of Denmark.1) The new Agreement determines the maritime boundary on the continental shelf within 200 nautical miles, including the Lincoln Sea, the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Labrador Sea, and resolves a nearly 50-year-old dispute over the limestone Hans Island (also known as Tartupaluk) covering 1.3 km², situated in the Kennedy Channel portion of Nares Strait – about 18 km to the coasts of Ellesmere Island and Northwest Greenland respectively. Although uninhabited, Tartupaluk has historically been significant both to the Inughuit of Avanersuaq in Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and to the Inuit of Nunavut, Canada. As such, the 2022 Agreement constitutes a historic milestone for the future of Inuit rights in the region. This blog post explores the legal implications of the Agreement on Tartupaluk for the traditional (fishing and hunting) rights of the Inuit Peoples of Greenland and Nunavut. The post first provides an overview of the background of the dispute and the content of the 2022 Agreement. It deals with the implication of the Agreement on the traditional rights of the Inuit people, followed by an examination of whether the recognition of Inuit rights under the Agreement is consistent with international law.

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