Prairie Talks welcomed Bjørn Engesland on September 22, 2013. Engesland started working in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in 1995 and became Secretary General in 1996. He has a Masters degree in law and has formerly been employed at the Norwegian Institute for Human Rights. He is a member of the board of the Institute for Human Rights.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was founded in 1977. The committee bases its activities on the Helsinki Declaration that was signed by more than 35 European and North American states at the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, later OSCE) in 1975. The Declaration states that respect for human rights is a fundamental factor in the development of peace and understanding between states.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is a non-governmental (NGO), non-profit organization which monitors compliance with the human rights provisions of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) within all OSCE signatory states and supports initiatives to strengthen democracy and civil society. In the last few years the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s international activities have focused especially on the emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The committee works irrespectively of states’ ideology and political positions, and concentrates on addressing breaches of the Helsinki Declaration, OSCE documents, and other international human rights treaties. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is politically independent.
This event was co-sponsored by the Rugby’s Sons of Norway Odin Lodge and Bismarck State College’s Embracing Diversity Team, and it was partially supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.