Human rights defenders & security

Introduction

The 'Human Rights Defenders and Security' programme of Justice and Peace supports Human Rights Defenders all over the world through the following projects:

  • Shelter City, in which Human Rights Defenders are temporarily relocated in The Netherlands for 3 months, gaining new knowledge, energy, and to expand their network.
  • The Hague Training Course, in which they participate in a one week training course on a.o. (digital) security mechanisms, networking, reporting human rights abuses and policy influencing skills.

In many countries around the world, people stand up against human rights violations and criticise the governments that should protect them. Unfortunately, these Human Rights Defenders often become victim of threats themselves and are obstructed by legislative measures. These legislative measures range from restricted foreign funding to anti-terrorism legislation that hampers the freedom of expression, to defamation of human rights defenders, by saying, for example, that they are Western agents.

Besides these obstructions Human Rights Defenders can also receive threats, such as:

  • physical harassment and direct threats;
  • digital surveillance and online threats through social media;
  • threats to family members;
  • cell phone surveillance and threats through text messaging.

Human Rights Defenders need help in order to cope with and minimizeminimize these threats so that they are able to continue their work: defending human rights. This help is provided by Justice and Peace by focusing on protecting and training Human Rights Defenders under threat.

Human Rights Defenders are the “agents of change.” They can only do their work if they are free and safe. By giving them a voice and recognition in Europe and providing them with the necessary contacts in Brussels, The Hague, Geneva and New York, as well as the knowledge to protect themselves both digitally and physically, Justice and Peace contributes to the safety of all these Human Rights Defenders.

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