Fee-free legal advisory services and advocacy to citizens and NGO´s. Human rights advocacy towards the state institutions. Review, commentary and analysis in the law-making process. Oversight of judiciary – „judiciary watchdog“. (Top example: with regard to enforcement issues the dormant courts do not act in the area of ownership rights which are basic constitutional and human rights.) Monitoring and analysis of international treaties and agreements into legislative framework of the Slovak Law system. Participation in creation and writing new laws with regard to European Union acqui communitaire. The enhancement of the legal awareness – talkshows on TV and radio, articles, lecturing at Law Faculties and Faculty of Management. Advising to incoming foreign organisations and Embassies.
On August 21, 1968 the occupation of Czechoslovakia by troops of the Warsaw Pact ended the „ Prague Spring“ and began the process of „normalization“ which reestablished a totalitarian communist regime. Nine years later, on January 1, 1977, a group of dissidents which included Vacalv Havel, the current president of the Czech Republic, issued the declaration Charter 77. Those who signed this charter did more then just call attention to violation of human and citizen rights. They demanded and were personally committed to working for the establishment of justice, the rule of law and respect for human rights and international agreements in Czechoslovakia. Those who affixed their signatures to the Charta 77 and became part of this civic movement sought to work within the law for the public benefit. The communist regime, however, subjected them to various forms of persecution ranging from the loss of employment to imprisonment.
One year later, Professor František Janouch established The Charta 77 Foundation in Sweden. From abroad the Foundation sought support for the movement in Czechoslovakia and, when individual signatories were imprisoned, provided assistance to their families so that they could survive.
In November 1989 the Foundation moved its headquaters from Sweden to Czechoslovakia and as officialy registered federal entity continued to support the revolution through its local offices in Prague, Brno and Bratislava. Following the split of Czechoslovakia in 1992 Slovak Charta 77 Foundation was registered as the independent Slovak organization (Law on Foundations 207/1966 Z.z.) maintaining the continuity of ideas and principles as agreed between Mr. Havel, Janouch, Dienstbier, Schwarzenberg and Ms. Szatmary.
The Charta 77 Foundation Slovakia seeks to encourage the development of a truly democratic civil society and achieve the still relevant ideals of the Charta 77, namely, respect for human rights, tolerance and the rule of law. It provides Slovak citizens and others with legal assistance starting with basic legal advise through local courts up to both Supreme and Constitutional Court and Strassbourg. The Foundation offers variety of public education and information programs, maintains constructive dialogue with representatives of political and state power, calls attention to and documents specific violations of human and citizen rights, promotes tolerance and defense of minorities, acts as mediator in conflict situations, analyzes legal proposals affecting the guarantee of human and citizen rights, issues reports and cooperates with other not-for-profit entities.
Average amount of clients monthly is 172. The structure of cases according to highest amounts and areas of law was as follows:
The Foundation employes full time lawyers and law student volunteers and closely cooperates in the need of additional lawyers with three Advocacy Firms.
In the field of legislation the new social program to decrease the unemployment through microcredits was launched in cooperation with National Labor Office supplemented by newly proposed paragraphs for Slovak Parliament. The Foundation worked out The Charta of the Rights of Oncological Patients and one third of the Law on Ombudsman and succeeded to include paragraphs on tax law deduction for NGO´s in new tax law.
The Foundation raised funds for Cierny Balog village in Central Slovakia to repair the destructed road during Summer floods. The Foundation was recently offered to provide representatives to Slovak Television Board and still serves as legal advisor to regional Gremiums of the 3rd Sector as follow-up activity to everyday NGO advisory.