The initiative “Increasing Accountability and Respect for Human Rights by Judicial Authorities” originated from joint multi-annual work by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, the Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights and their international partners in support of Human Rights Defenders in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, co-funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Open Society Foundations. 


The partners believe that international concerns about human rights must be expressed across a broad spectrum of relations, in a wide range of fora that go beyond standard human rights international complaint, monitoring and dialogue mechanisms. The initiative aims to promote human rights compliance by prosecutors and judges and contribute to inclusion of human rights concerns in their international professional relations. The initiative has global relevance, however, due to the geographic focus of our work, we report mainly on the situation in the OSCE region. Organizations from other parts of the world are invited to contribute their knowledge and experience.


The name of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights refers to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. 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. Soon after the signing of the agreement, civil society groups emerged claiming that human rights should be complied with, one of the principles contained in the Final Act.