The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is a public benefit human rights organization that protects human dignity through legal and public activities. We provide help to refugees, detainees and victims of law enforcement violence.
1989: The foundation of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee
1994: We begin providing professional legal assistance
Signature of the Border Monitoring Agreement between the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Hungarian National Police Headquarters and the UNHCR
What does it mean that we are a human rights organization?
We often feel vulnerable in the face of the giant state. Many individuals are even more vulnerable, like those living with disabilities, Roma people, foreigners, to name a few. They are usually discriminated against or are simply unable to protect their interests because, for example, they cannot afford attorneys when aggrieved.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee helps those whose human rights the state violated. Our clients are refugees, detainees and discriminated people.
With only a handful of members at the time of founding, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee has grown to an organization of more than twenty professionals by 2015. Our colleagues include lawyers, attorneys, medical doctors, economists, sociologists and journalists as well. In the early years we only focused on free legal assistance and representation while today our portfolio also includes research and professional training activities spanning through a wide range of fields.
Our main areas:
Protection of the rule of law
Protection of the rights of refugees
Monitoring law enforcement activities
Protection of the rights of detainees
Why do we have the city of Helsinki in our name?
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is a Hungarian organisation. We almost exclusively deal with Hungarian issues, with the human rights violations of Hungarian authorities. So, why ‘Helsinki’? Helsinki is the trademark of human rights and a respected human rights movement. The governments of Europe and North America signed the Helsinki Final Act on August 1, 1975 in which they committed themselves to respect fundamental human rights.
As a result self-organising groups in the countries of the communist block, referring to the Final Act in their names, began demanding that their states respect the rights laid out in Helsinki. The Hungarian group was founded in 1989 to monitor the fairness of the first free elections, but already designated the issues of refugees and detention as its main operational foci in its Founding Declaration.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, together with other 14 Hungarian human rights NGOs have urged the respective committee to recommend that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rejects the candidates nominated by the Hungarian Government to be the next Hungarian judge at the European Court of Human Rights.
Hungarian Judge András Sajó’s term at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ends in January 2017 and Hungary must propose three potential replacement candidates by 26 August 2016. The Parliamentary Assembly will choose the next Hungarian judge from these candidates or may reject all the candidates if they are unfit for the post. The Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights is there to advise the Parliamentary Assembly on this decision after reviewing the qualifications of each candidate.
According to the underlying rules, the national process of selecting the candidates must reflect the principles of democratic ...
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee - together with 10 other NGOs – sent an open letter to the Minister of Justice requiring him to withdraw the list of candidates to the post of judge at the European Court of Human Rights and select candidates in a procedure that meet the requirements of Council of Europe norms. The NGOs main concern is the failure to carry out a transparent and fair selection procedure.
In February 2016 the HHC contacted the Ministry of Justice asking about how they wish to meet the requirements of Resolution 1646 (2009) on the Nomination of candidates and election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights, since in Hungary there is no established, codified procedure for eliciting applications (nor is there settled administrative practice) and the deadline for submission is 26 August 2016. The HHC asked – among others – the following:
when and how they wish to ...