Human rights defenders & security

Why shelter city?

Every day, human rights violations are taking place in different countries around the world. Human rights defenders are the people who bring attention to those violations. Often, they do this at the expense of their own safety: they face serious risks, arbitrary detention, torture and even “disappearances”. Some of these human rights defenders can be helped by a short period of rest and respite outside their own country, so that they can escape from specific threats or simply be temporarily away from a very stressful situation.

Justice and Peace offers these human rights defenders the possibility for rest and respite in The Netherlands. Shelter City is a last resort when shelter in the region is not possible and the safety of the human rights defender in question cannot be guaranteed. An important principle of the Shelter City Initiative is that Human Rights Defenders continue their work, even if they are temporarily relocated.

Apart from the safety and shelter that the Initiative provides to the Human Rights Defender, Shelter City also sends an important signal to the people who stay in the defender's nation. By supporting the human rights defender, Shelter City shows that the human rights problems which they fight against are taken seriously abroad. This gives a strong signal to their government and lets other human rights defenders know that they are not alone in their struggle.