IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs

03/23/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/23/2017 09:43

In memory of Henriette Rasmussen (1950-2017)

Henriette Rasmussen, former Minister of Culture in Greenland, has passed away. Henriette Ramussen was a strong defender of indigenous peoples' rights and paved the way for the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples.

By Marianne Lykke Thomsen, member of IWGIA's board

Our dear colleague and friend through many years Henriette Rasmussen has passed away at age 66.

Henriette Rasmussen made an outstanding contribution to the fight for indigenous peoples' rights as well as women's rights. Through her dedicated work in Inuit Circumpolar Council for Inuit in the Arctic region and in her international career she was devoted to empower indigenous peoples.

Henriette Rasmussen served in municipal politics and as long time parliamentarian and member of the Government of Greenland, where she was the first woman to become minister.

Paved the way for The Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples
In her capacity as minister Henriette Rasmussen became a strong proponent for the establishment of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples.

In 1993, the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Henriette Rasmussen was asked to present the Danish statement at the UN World Conference on Human Rights.

At this occasion she proposed the establishment of the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples. The Permanent Forum was accepted by UN and still serves one of the most important international forums for indigenous peoples.

Honorary consul and journalist
Henriette Rasmussen's international carrier included her work as Chief Technical Advisor for the Indigenous Peoples Programme at the ILO. Henriette served as Honorary Consul for France for several years, right until her much too early death.

Henriette Rasmussen was fighting cancer the past few years, while continuing her distinguished work as journalist at KNR Greenlandic Broadcasting Company.

The people of Greenland said their last goodby to Henriette in a beautiful ceremony on March 8. She leaves behind her husband two children and grandchildren.