"The NHC is a marathon runner for human rights"
– Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs 2017-2021

About the Norwegian Helsinki Committee 


What is our mission? 

We are a group of people devoted to the struggle for justice and freedom worldwide.  


… and core belief? 

We believe that defending the human rights of everyone, regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation, is the key to promoting security and prosperity for all. 

What is our history? 

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was established by activists from across the political spectrum in 1977, in the middle of the Cold War. Our name refers to the security and human rights agreement signed in Helsinki in 1975, which became the origin of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. Our aim was to support persecuted human rights defenders in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the Helsinki Movement contributed to the democratic revolutions that swept through Europe in 1989.  

 … and future? 

As shown by our history, the struggle in attaining and safeguarding the most basic human rights is a continuing battle. Today many parts of the world face a backlash against democracy, however, we are proud to be a part of a global community that defends human rights against injustice and authoritarian leaders. Times, states and leaders change, but the struggle for rights and freedoms will go on. Our experience is an important asset in that struggle. 

What are our tools? 

We believe in the power of documenting human rights abuses– whether torture, unlawful killings, attacks perpetrated against the freedom of speech and abuses against the right to free and fair elections. Reliable and relevant information is vital to hold perpetrators accountable and to counter the lies and silence that surrounds human rights abuse. 

To facilitate change, we report and inform both the Norwegian and the international community about vital concerns. As part of this effort, we have gained over 20 years of experience in human rights education 

Last but not least, we support individuals, organizations and projects working to promote human rights in our geographical focus region, Europe and the former Soviet Union. These people are a constant presence on the front line, working and fighting for the rights and freedoms of us all.  

We are based in liberal and wealthy Norway with strong democratic tradition. It is a safe space, which is vital to support human rights defenders who sometimes risk their lives documenting the crimes of vicious regimes. 

Who are our donors?

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is primarily a project-funded organization. Support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs constitutes approximately 50% of our income. Other Norwegian donors include Fritt Ord, IMDI, and BUFETAT. We actively and systematically seek supporters outside Norway as well. Through our initiatives, we have succeeded in securing project support from donor organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). We also receive funds from private donors and companies, including Yara International ASA and the law firms Wikborg Rein, Selmer, and Matrix Advokater. 

Our projects activities primarily take place outside Scandinavia. In some countries, working for human rights has become increasingly difficult. Authoritarian regimes regularly target non-governmental organizations and their employees. For the abovementioned reason, we do not publish detailed information about all our projects.  

Are you interested in supporting the Norwegian Helsinki Committee or partnering on an important project? Please contact us. 

Where are we? 

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has a staff of 22 people of 11 nationalities. Our main office is in Oslo, Norway. 

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Our Partners

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How our projects save and improve lives

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Annual Reports

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