How should the Hans Island dispute be resolved?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The international disputes over little Hans Island off the coast of Greenland are based on the possibility that there are huge oil deposits to be found beneath its surface. Although several nations--particularly Denmark and Canada--have argued about its true ownership through the years (since it has been deemed part of Greenland, it legally belongs to Denmark), other countries, such as Russia and Norway, have joined the fight for possible control of the island. Sadly, it is the power of the oil that has dictated these responses. To answer your question simply, Denmark--as the legal owner as judged by the the Permanent Court of International Justice in its decision of 1933--should remain in control of the uninhabited Hans Island. Any legal changes concerning the island would be based on other nations' greed for profiting from oil drilling. Since Denmark has taken no action to drill--and according to one pro-Danish source,

... it is not necessary to sacrifice the precious tranquility of Hans Island for meager profit...

--keeping the island, whose barren land has little strategic value, in its present natural state seems like the most logical and environmentally sound decision.


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