International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) is a self-governing group of non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations that act to protect human rights throughout Europe, North America and Central Asia. A specific primary goal is to monitor compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act and its Follow-up Documents.

It was founded in 1982, inspired in part by an appeal from Dr. Andrei Sakharov for the creation of a "unified international committee to defend all Helsinki Watch Group members", and also to co-ordinate their work. The IHF was founded in response, both to provide an organization which the various independent Helsinki committees could use to support each another, as well as provide an international body to strengthen their work.

The original members were the independent Helsinki committees of Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States; an international secretariat was established in Vienna. The secretariat supports and provides liaison member Helsinki committees and associated human rights groups, and represents them at the international political level. It currently has forty-four member committees.

The IHF also has direct links with individuals and groups supporting human rights in countries where no Helsinki committees exist. In addition to gathering and analyzing information on human rights conditions in OSCE countries, the IHF acts as a clearing house for this information, disseminating it to governments, inter-governmental organizations, the press and the public at large.

In January 2008, an Austrian court convicted the IHF's former financial manager, Rainer Tannenberger, of the embezzlement of €1.2 million. Tannenberger was sentenced to three years in prison, with two of them suspended.cite news|url=|title=Human rights movement active despite fraud scandal, former director says|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2008-01-09|accessdate=2008-03-06] The IHF's former executive director, Aaron Rhodes, has stated: "The fact that the IHF as such has gone bankrupt due to treachery will affect the movement but won't stop it". The current status of the organisation is unclear.

ee also

* Moscow Helsinki Group
* Charter 77
* Helsinki Watch


External links

* [ International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights]

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