Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Founded in 1995, the National Human Rights Public Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” is one of the oldest human rights defenders organizations in Belarus. The list of its founders includes the nation’s most prominent leaders such as Vasil’ Bykau, Sviatlana Alexievich (Nobel prize in literature 2015).
BHC sees as its main objective creating of civic context, in which citizens, businesses and the government would realize that a comfortable and convenient living environment in the country may only be established through active participation and collaboration of all actors. In this way, the Committee promotes human rights as paramount element of economic and human development.
BHC works mainly on six major human rights topics, such as: business and human rights (the topic has never been widely discussed in Belarus, and BHC is in fact pioneering business and human rights), discrimination (BHC carries out research and promotes the introduction of special anti-discrimination legislation), human rights based approach (BHC promotes incorporation of human rights instruments in project development at various levels), international human rights mechanisms (BHC promotes the use of the mechanisms by non-human rights organizations and develops electronic resources for assisting these organizations); national human rights mechanisms (BHC examines the legislation and addresses its gaps in order to provide as many protective measures as possible); death penalty (BHC carries out research and opens new aspects of death penalty such as overall brutalization of societies in which death penalty is practiced, for those interested).
The BHC’s main ways of working include legal aid, monitoring, analysis, reporting and informing on human rights situation, advocacy, training, and communication campaigns. BHC has extensive experience of cooperation with UN international mechanisms. Alone and with other CSOs, the Committee has prepared and presented alternative reports on ICCPR, ICESCR, CEDAW, UPR and cooperated with various UN special rapporteurs.