The Hungarian Helsinki Committee was founded in 1989 as an association. It was registered as a civil society organisation by the Metropolitan Court on 9 October 1989. In 1975 European and North American governments signed the Helsinki Final Act, in which...
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee was founded in 1989 as an association. It was registered as a civil society organisation by the Metropolitan Court on 9 October 1989.
In 1975 European and North American governments signed the Helsinki Final Act, in which they undertook to respect human rights, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and the free flow of information. In 1976 a group of human rights activists, calling themselves the Moscow Helsinki Group, attempted to exercise rights that the Soviet government had committed itself to respect. The activists were imprisoned and sentenced to forced labor.
However, across Central and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, there were individuals who – referring to Helsinki – began to exercise their human rights as they believed that people have inalienable human rights regardless what the law says.
It was in this spirit that, in 1983, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights was founded. Its first impressive event was held in Budapest in October 1985.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) was established in 1989. It started its permanent activities in 1994-1995. Since then, the HHC has been monitoring whether rights that are assured by domestic law can be effectively exercised, and whether Hungarian legislation guarantees the rights that it should under either international treaties or the general principles of human rights. Are persons who flee persecution and seek protection in Hungary able to exercise these rights? Are persons who differ from the majority due to the color of their skin or any other trait able to assert these rights? Are these rights observed in police jails and prisons? Since its start, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee has been analyzing and – if justified – criticizing legislation and legal practice and making efforts to influence the legislative process to ensure that domestic law fully respects the principles of human rights. For nearly twenty years, the HHC has been providing legal assistance to those whose human rights have been violated by the public authorities who are responsible for ensuring the exercise of human rights.
András Mink: The Defendant: The State. The Story of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee
Published by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Budapest, 2005
ISBN 963 86959 14 9