Justice and Peace began in 1968 with the establishment of the Commission for Justice and Peace Netherlands, with the aim of promoting justice, social justice and peace in the world. Since 1972, Justice and Peace has developed into a professional organisation working under an elaboration of this policy with an established statute and a small secretariat.
The 1980s saw Justice and Peace become more active in denouncing human rights violations. For example, specific focus was placed on Central America, South Africa, Irian Jaya and East Timor during this period. Furthermore, the military and economic aid from the United States to the dictatorships in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala provoked protests within the Netherlands, in which Justice and Peace was often involved.
In the 1990s, Justice and Peace emphasised a focus on the Netherlands refugee policy, poverty in the Netherlands, economic justice, racism and xenophobia, and undocumented migrants. Moreover, the death penalty, freedom of religion, the international debt crisis, reconciliation and solidarity in Europe formed further points of interest. Together with partners in former Yugoslavia, the Great Lakes region (Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular), Sudan, Liberia, Mexico, Colombia and Pakistan, Justice and Peace worked to improve human rights at the local level. Partners from these countries visit the Netherlands while Justice and Peace built structural contacts with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The external human rights policy is followed critically.
In the new millennium, Justice and Peace established working relationships with 20 partners from around the world to the visualisation of various forms of human rights violations. Additionally, in the Netherlands itself, Justice and Peace continued to actively advocate for pardons for asylum seekers. The first world conference on the rights of Dalit women was held in The Hague for which Justice and Peace implemented effective lobby in The Hague, Brussels, Geneva and New York together with its Southern partners. In 2008, Justice and Peace celebrated its fortieth anniversary.
Another highlight in December 2008 was the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this December 10th, the Dutch State Prize for Human Rights was awarded for the first time. The Human Rights Defenders Tulip, as it has become known, was awarded to Justine Masika Bihamba from Eastern Congo. The evening event at the ‘Trojan Horse’ during the Right Now Festival attracted over 1,200 young people in celebration of this anniversary. This festival was organised by the Foundation 60 years UDHR, for which Justice and Peace took the initiative in 2007.
In 2010, Justice and Peace organised an international workshop on human rights defenders. It was argued strenuously that the Dutch government was to provide temporary refuge for human rights defenders in danger because of their work. From this point onwards, Justice and Peace enabled several initiatives that work to realise a safe haven for human rights defenders in the Hague, such as the Shelter City initiative.
Recently, Justice and Peace has seen the need to independently identify and develop clear choices in the thematic focuses of the organisation. From 2015, projects will focus on the protection of human rights defenders, environmental justice, and migration in the Netherlands.
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