The main goal and mission of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Slovakia (HVS) is to raise awareness of human rights and the overall improvement of the human rights environment in Slovakia. We build on the legacy and values of November 89, therefore we perceive the need to protect human rights, freedom and democracy as a main priority. For almost 30 years, we have been pointing out human rights violations and educating for democratic citizenship and tolerance. We believe that a necessary condition for a society that values peace, justice and freedom is respect for human dignity. Our vision is to build a country where fundamental rights and freedoms are protected.
Through seminars, workshops, conferences and publishing activities, we educate young people about democratic values that guarantee respect for human rights. In addition, HVS monitors the human rights situation in Slovakia, which results in involvement in the creation of public policies related to obligations in the field of human rights, and acting in government advisory bodies.
HVS continues the traditions of the original Slovak Helsinki Committee, founded in 1993. The Helsinki movement was created in the 80s of the 20th century as a civil response to the humanitarian and human rights commitments to which the states of the European continent committed themselves at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (KBSE). It was held in Helsinki in 1975.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the signatory states of the Helsinki Document reaffirmed their human rights obligations by adopting the 1990 CSCE/OSCE Copenhagen Document that was a result of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE. The catalog of human rights, that is part of this document, together with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Council of Europe formed the basis for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. It was later incorporated in an almost identical form into the Constitution of the Slovak Republic adopted on September 1, 1992.
The motto of the renewed Helsinki movement is the first paragraph of the Copenhagen document: “The participating States express their conviction that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is one of the basic purposes of government, and reaffirm that the recognition of these rights and freedoms constitutes the foundation of freedom, justice and peace”.
Like other Helsinki committees, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Slovakia will constantly remind the state of this commitment.