The Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) is a non-governmental organisation that promotes human rights and strengthens the rule of law and democracy in OSCE region, with a special focus on the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Our work lies primarily in executing projects to strengthen legal protection and improve public policies that affect vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. We support human rights NGOs to withstand governmental pressure. Additionally, we work to improve the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments and other international human rights agreements. We take active part in several civil society networks of human rights NGOs in Europe.
The name of the NHC refers to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, a major agreement on avoiding war in Europe. The Final Act was the conclusion of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, held as the relations between East and West were gradually thawing. The states that signed the Act later created the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE works to enhance cooperation among governments on security issues and to stimulate democracy and respect for rights by governments.
While major improvement has taken place since 1975, human rights protection stands as a major challenge in Europe. The NHC addresses this challenge in partnership with like-minded organisations across the OSCE region and is actively involved in civil society coalition building.
The activities of NHC are concentrated around five main topics:
- Prison reform and probation
- Trafficked persons
- Strengthening access to justice
- Supporting civil society human rights work
- Human rights advocacy