Human rights defenders & security

Human rights defenders

A Human Rights Defender is a person who through his or her work promotes and defends universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. People who use violence are excluded from this definition.

Human Rights Defenders often do their job in difficult circumstances. While it is crucial that human rights violations committed in their countries are addressed, legal structures are often malfunctioning and lacking impartiality. Because of this, impunity and  insecurity prevail.  Besides human rights violations, corruption and violence take place on a large scale. For these reasons, human rights defenders do their work under great pressure. They are sometimes threatened because of it, which can lead to abuse and sometimes worse. Occasionally, this pressure gets so high, for example during elections, that the Human Rights Defender is in great danger. Shelter City provides these Human Rights Defenders with the opportunity to catch their breath for a short period by letting them temporarily escape a threatening situation.

Watch short videos featuring former Shelter City participants.

The following persons took part in the Shelter City programme:

Danilo Maldonado, Cuba

Irène Esambo, DR Congo

Laurent Munyandilikirwa, Rwanda

James Ninrew Dong, South Sudan

Diadji Diouf, Senegal

Michael Kudryashov, Kyrgyzstan

You can find more profiles of human rights defenders  who have stayed in the shelter cities on our dedicated website.