Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA) has been founded 1990 in Prague by civic activists from Eastern and Western Europe, with the active support of President Vaclav Havel. It is a non profit civic movement, based on the involvement of individual activists from NGOs and social movements. Its main focuses are democracy, peace and empowerment of civil society. The international HCA network had developed branches all over Europe from Scotland to Azerbaijan and an international secretariat in Prague. HCA activities were mainly oriented during the 90s around peace issues and conflict resolution in the South East of Europe (former Yugoslavia, Caucasus, Moldova, etc.).
After 2000, the Prague international secretariat collapsed because of a lack of financial resources and HCA became a decentralised and polycentric network. HCA branches or partner organisations are active today in Germany, Netherlands, England, France, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Nagorno Karabagh, Azerbaijan. Since 1996, HCA regularly organises youth meetings (Seminar for international dialogue and understanding or “Sidu”). The last "Sidus" took place in Turkey and Azerbaijan (2000), Hungary (2002), Armenia (2003), Georgia (2004), Moldova (2005), France (2006) and Poland (2007).
HCA has cofounded the Middle East Citizens’ Assembly (MECA) in Amman in 2005 and the Middle East Youth Forum in 2006, also in Amman, while following meetings have been held in Istambul (August 2006) and Cairo (March 2007).
Since its foundation, HCA has been chaired by MMs. Mary Kaldor (United kingdom), Sonia Licht (Serbia) and MMr Jaroslav Sabata, Martin Palous (Czech Republic), Mient Jan Faber (The Netherlands) , Murat Belge (Turkey). The co-chairs are today Ms Arzu Abdullayeva (Azerbaijan) and Bernard Dreano (France).
The French branch of HCA, Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens (HCA-France), founded also in 1990, is a member of the French NGO netwotk Initiative pour un autre monde (IPAM).