The Annual Report 2019 of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee is completed. It is filled with facts and glimpses of light from the fight against unjustice and oppression in the areas where we work.
– We can be proud of the efforts we made in 2019. When we look back, there is no doubt that the contribution from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee made an important difference in the fight for human rights and democracy in many countries, says Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal, who is acting Secretary General in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
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The heroes of Europe
The democratic setbacks in Europe continued in 2019. Particularly the situation in Hungary and Poland is challenging, where the authorities consciously is following an authorititarian path. One of the highlights from our work in 2019 was the ceremony of our Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award, where the Hungarian Helsinki Committee was honoured and recognized for their achievements and dedicated efforts to promote human rights, democracy and rule of law in Hungary.
There is no doubt about the fact that the human rights defenders in the Hungarian Helsinki Committee is good examples of the most important heroes in Europe right now. These people can make the difference between new dictatorships in our continent, or a future where democracy can play the most important role.
Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal, acting Secretary General
–There is no doubt about the fact that the human rights defenders in the Hungarian Helsinki Committee is good examples of the most important heroes in Europe right now. These people can make the difference between new dictatorships in our continent, or a future where democracy can play the most important role, says Ekeløve-Slydal.
Documentation as tool against armed conflict
In 2019 NHC’s Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center (NEDC) was the world’s largest digital archive of human rights documentation (with more than one million individual documents) about armed conflicts and international crimes in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is proud to have such a groundbreaking human rights work. In 2019 the Center started sharing information with the public in Russian and English on its website (www.nedc-nhc.org). The website contains audio materials – stories told by victims or their family members – in addition to videos and descriptions of the gravest and most widespread violations.
– It is our hope that the NEDC website will be used by the general public, especially in Russia, as a source of information, says Aage Borchgrevink, Head of NHC’s Section for Documentation.
Europe, as seen from the barricades
Through our campaign 12 women on the barricades we told the stories of 12 brave women human rights defenders to inspire interest for the most pressing human rights challenges women are facing in Europe today. One of the organizers behind the campaign is Mina Wikshåland Skouen,Head of NHC’s Equal Rights Section.
–While we see that women, LGBTI persons and other groups exposed to discrimination are facing increased pressure, we have reinforced our engagement to combat this, , says Skouen.
The Annual Meeting of the NHC has been postponed until September 2, 2019.