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Dear friends of the NHC,

Find our thematic monthly reflections below and sign up for furture newsletters.

February 2024 | Reflections on Ukraine

As February draws to a close, we are saddened to reflect on yet another anniversary since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. For the past two years, Ukraine has been at the forefront of the fight for peace, freedom and democracy in Europe. Ukraine and its people continue to pay the ultimate price for European freedom.

The war in Ukraine is a staunchly painful reminder that freedom and democracy can never be taken for granted. Now more than ever we must realise that sustainable, lasting peace can only be achieved by building democratic, free and rights-respecting societies – and that a strong focus on human rights and the rule of law lies at its core.

Below we provide an overview of the tireless efforts of our colleagues, friends and partners in Ukraine, who – despite and in spite everything – continue their work in advancing democracy, peace and recovery in Ukraine. We continue to stand by them, work with them and remain humbled by their resilience.

January 2024 | Reflections on the rule of law

Here at the NHC, we have been reporting on, monitoring and strengthening the rule of law across wider Europe since the organisation’s inception more than 35 years ago – and our work has rarely felt more relevant than right now.

In the Netherlands, we are noticing a worrying trend of increased pressure on rule of law and democratic institutions, as well as mistrust from the public regarding the independence and impartiality of said institutions. We are proud to have once more contributed to the European Commission’s annual reports on the state of the rule of law in the European Union, together with other Dutch civil society organisations.

At the same time, the situation in EU Member State Poland is looking promising after the October 2023 parliamentary elections brought an end to the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party’s 8 year majority rule. At the end of 2023, NHC Committee Member and Senior Judge Kees Sterk reflected on what lies ahead for Poland on the path to restoring rule of law; touching upon the surprising victory of the right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands at the end of November.

Finally, the NHC has also proudly launched a new round of the Matra Rule of Law Training pogramme, designed to strengthen institutional capacity in the field of rule of law within government organisations in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Türkiye, and Ukraine. Each year we offer (hybrid) training courses, providing participants with insights into best practices across a wide range of rule of law topics. We have recently opened calls for applications for 4 hybrid trainings, and will be accepting applications for the “Administration of Justice” and “Functioning of Democratic Institutions” training programmes until Sunday 17 March 23:59 CET.

Find out more about our recent work on the rule of law this newsletter, and watch this space for more thematic reflections from our team.