Helsinki Committee for Human Rights












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As one of the leading NGOs in Serbia, the Helsinki Committee examines the situation of human rights in Serbia against country's overall socioeconomic and political context - an approach to the problematic different from those of other human rights organizations and best mirrored in its annual reports. Here the organization not only dissects policies and trends affecting the exercise of human rights but also provides relevant recommendations.

In setting its short- to longer-term priorities in 2008, the Committee posits the need for continued observation and analysis of the developments, tendencies and factors that influence Serbia's reformist potential and democratic transition, "standardization" of public life, response to transitional justice, and the society's and decision-makers' prevalent mindset, including that towards any otherness (ethnic, political, religious, etc.). In this context the Committee will be developing thematic projects and alerting a variety of stakeholders - ranging from governmental agencies and international organizations to general public - of impermissible policies and practices, while simultaneously advocating modern world's norms and mainstream, i.e. Serbia's Europeanization.


The organization's overall mission implies the following lines of action, i.e. strategic programs:

First - The documentation/research "center," as an umbrella program meant to uphold both the organization's overall mission and institutional sustainability. The program capitalizes on tons of (often rare) documents compiled for almost 20 years, regular analyses and press clippings, the organization's human resources and the capacity to attract/engage members of liberal intelligentsia, as well as on the library of the Committee's editions/documentaries and those of other publishers/producers. The program is the more so important since it enables development of thematic projects and publishing of annual reports and other editions. Besides, researchers, scholars, post-graduates, etc. from home and abroad have been regularly turning to the Committee for specific editions and other documents. In order to be fully functional and supportive of the organization's overall mission, the program needs regular financial support to cover (at least partially) the expenses ineligible under thematic projects (rent, salaries to the staff not working on specific projects, utilities, etc.) and qualitative and quantitative enlargement, i.e. further cataloguing and procurement of pertinent literature published in the ex-Yugoslav region and worldwide.

Second - "Facing the past/truth" - i.e. transitional justice - as the organization's landmark program. It is under this program that the Committee has been issuing the Helsinki Charter magazine for 12 years now, published some 130 books, held umpteen panel discussions, produced eleven 60-minute documentaries, etc. The Committee has also been cooperating with the ICTY from the very beginning by providing it with ample material that throws light on the context of and the major factors in ex-Yugoslavia's disintegration. The program also includes awareness-raising about causes and consequences of ex-Yugoslavia's disintegration, and advocates accountability for the war crimes committed "in the name of the nation" in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia proper, and lustration. Here the work that interlinks the organization's major strategic lines aims to help achieving" moral minimum" for Serbia's normalization and the society's capacity to overcome the legacy of Milosevic's criminal regime, but also that of nationalistic policies pursued after October 5, 2000.

Third - Serbia's Europeanization, i.e. the advocacy for adoption of the standards of accountability in public life, particularly in the domain of parliamentarianism. This is about a new strategic concern, necessitated by the fact that Serbia ranks high on the list of most corrupted states in the world, and lacks mechanisms that would regulate the rights and duties of institutions, elected officials and public servants towards the legal system and citizens, as well as a normative system that would regulate the same vis-a-vis institutions and citizens. The great bulk of this program will prioritize parliamentary transparency and accountability, including public discourse of elected representatives, and the work with local and women parliamentarians, particularly in multiethnic communities (such as Vojvodina) and those where minorities make the majority (such as Sandzak and South Serbia).

Fourth - Educational outreaches for the young. By dealing with young people from all over Serbia - raised and educated either in the atmosphere of warring propaganda or against the backdrop of distorted values and still subjected to misguiding notions through educational system - the program aims to capacitate as many as possible teens, young adults and young professionals to think critically of the past and the present alike, and eventually emerge as community leaders and reformist policymakers.

Fifth - "Human rights culture" program. On the one hand, the program focuses implementation of major international and European conventions and instruments for the protection of fundamental human rights and, in particular, the rights of persons deprived of their liberty (prisoners, institutionalized psychiatric patients, etc.) and socially marginalized/vulnerable groups; on the other, it is concerned with the position of ethnic minorities, and aims at upholding the society's multiethnic and multicultural tissue.

Sixth - The "crises resolution/conflict-prevention" program. It aims at overcoming not only the Serb-Albanian rancor and anxieties of Kosovo Serbs living in enclaves, but also at lessening the tensions characteristic of Serbia's multiethnic regions such as Sandzak and South Serbia heavily burdened by the legacy of gross violations of human rights, war crimes, persecutions, ethnically motivated violence, state-orchestrated repression, etc, in the past, and prone to political manipulation in the present. The program mostly brings together people from antagonized ethnic communities, indicates the avenues for the life "under the same roof" and provides actual assistance in the process of integration into a larger community.



Sonja Biserko


Vice President

Seška Stanojlovic


Executive Director

Izabela Kisic


Members of the Council

Latinka Perovic

Branimir Stojanovic

Safeta Biševac

Fahri Musliju

Draga Bozinovic

Srdan Barišic





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Our Postal Address is:

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia

Rige od Fere 20

11000 Belgrade



Call us by phone (voice):

(+381 11) 30 32 408

(+381 11) 26 39 437


Office in Prishtina

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - office in Prishtina

Mother Teresa 28/3, 10000, Prishtina

Cell: +377 (0) 44 119575

Office: +381 (0) 38 767 127


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November 2, 2011

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Please join the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe for a hearing that explores the nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Human Trafficking.

Organized Crime has evolved to meet the challenges of globalization and modern technology. In this evolution major international criminal organizations and smaller highly specialized groups of criminal entrepreneurs have found new ways to expand their operations and exploit human beings into slavery. To meet these challenges new national and international strategies have been placed into action, but their results remain to be seen. This continues the Helsinki Commission’s hearing series on new fronts in human trafficking. This hearing will focus on: (1) the evolving nature of Transnational Organized Crime, (2) the role of major international organized crime groups and smaller organized criminal syndicates in human trafficking, (3) identified trends, and (4) strategies to combat these organizations and prevent the trafficking of human beings.
















Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights 2011