MINELRES: Formation of the Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights and International Dialogue (AHA)

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Dec 3 19:23:42 2008

Original sender: Joachim Frank <joachim.frank@gmx.at>

A–sterreichische Helsinki Vereinigung (A–HV) fA?r Menschenrechte und
Internationalen Dialog ("Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights
and International Dialogue"), ZVR-Zahl 419079558

Vienna, 13 November 2008. 

On 13 October 2008, the Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights
and International Dialogue (AHA) held its first General Assembly, during
which the Black Sea Region was determined to be its first geographical
focus, in particular the North Caucasus (Russia), the South Caucasus
with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as Turkey and Ukraine. The
AHA is open for cooperation with human rights and peace building NGOs
from this region. An action plan will be worked out in the near future.
In compliance with its statutes, the AHA will also seek involvement with
its activities in Austria. 

The AHA is a voluntary association of activists, aimed at strengthening
human rights and peace in Austria and in other countries, and
particularly sees itself as part of the international Helsinki movement
and acts as its contact in Austria. The human rights provisions of the
Helsinki Final Act from 1975 and its Follow-up Documents were above all
important for the civil rights movements in the former Soviet Union and
in the rest of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, thereby providing the
basis for their work. Also after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and
the end of the Soviet Union, the Helsinki Movement remained particularly
strong and vital in this region, while of course in the meantime the
human rights standards of the United Nations and particularly the partly
legally binding standards of the Council of Europe have accompanied the
politically binding OSCE standards of the Helsinki process as

The AHA wants to promote compliance with human rights standards and its
worldwide strengthening, in particular through public control over
fulfillment of the countries' international human rights commitments as
members of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the UN, accompanied by
human rights advocacy and dialogue with state authorities and
international organizations. Furthermore, the AHA wants to raise the
level of awareness of and respect for the human rights of every
individual and for the basic principles of the rule of law and to
contribute to the popularization of human rights instruments. 

In line with its second elementary purpose, the AHA wants to try to
contribute to international dialogue and the strengthening of peace,
i.e. human security, especially through supporting initiatives to tackle
political or social conflicts, through conducting projects for the
strengthening of pluralist, democratic societies and of civil society
activities, as well as through participation in international networks
aimed at mutual support and solidarity.

The following persons were elected as the first Board of the AHA:
- Chair: Joachim Frank, longtime project coordinator for the
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF)
- Vice-Chair: Mustafa AkgA?n, Turkey-specialist and Chair of the
Austrian section of the Society for Threatened People
- Secretary: Gertraud HA¶dl, former IHF staff member, currently working
for a development aid organization 
- Treasurer: Siegfried WA¶ber, for several years as international
advisor for Helsinki Citizen Assembly in Georgia, Azerbaijan and
Armenia, currently employed in an international organization
- Further Board member: Eliza Musaeva, for several years consultant and
scientific collaborator for the IHF, before that head of the North
Caucasus offices of the Human Rights Centre "Memorial" 

At the beginning of September 2008, the AHA was taking part in a
monitoring mission in Georgia in order to collect facts about war crimes
by the different conflict parties during the Georgian-Russian war of
August 2008. This mission was conducted in cooperation with the
Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Centre in Georgia and
CAUCASIA. In October a part of the results was presented during a
discussion at the closing event of a photo exhibition.

Furthermore, the AHA supports a workshop about the human rights
situation in Turkey, organised by the Boltzmann Institute for Human
Rights (BIM) in Vienna from 16-17 November 2008.

For further information:
Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights and International
Dialogue (AHA), Joachim Frank, Chair, +43.676.312 23 48,

A–sterreichisch-Kaukasische Gesellschaft
Joachim Frank, Obmann
C/o Dittesgasse 2/19, A-1180 Wien
Tel. 0676-312 23 48
e-mail: joachim.frank@gmx.at

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