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Shelter City Initiative 2016 for Human Rights Defenders

The Shelter City Initiative offers human rights defenders a possibility for rest and respite by letting them escape temporarily from a threatening situation. 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. The programme’s objective is to offer the human rights defender a shelter for three months, during which she/he will rest, build up capacity and extend her/his network. At the end of the programme, participants are expected to return with new tools and energy to carry out their work at home. An important principle of the Shelter City Initiative is that human rights defenders continue their work while they are temporarily relocated. 


From September 2016, several cities in The Netherlands will receive human rights defenders for a period of three months. We are looking for human rights defenders who might be helped with a short relocation programme, because they are threatened or under intense pressure due to their work. Please circulate this message to all interested candidates who you may know.

Applicants must fulfil the following conditions:

  • The HRD can be a human rights defender in the broad sense of the word (lawyers, members of NGOs, poets or artists can all apply, as long as their work promotes Human Rights or he/she fights against human rights violations)
  • The HRD is threatened or otherwise under intense pressure and can be helped by a short period of time abroad
  • The HRD should be able and willing to return to the country of origin after 3 months
  • The HRD should be willing to speak out in public
  • The HRD should be willing/able to come alone, as there is currently no possibility for HRDs to come to The Netherlands with their partner and/or family under the Shelter City program
  • The HRD has to be willing to come to the Netherlands around September 2016
  • The HRDs can make use of their period in The Netherlands to rest; build up their capacities through various courses and trainings, network and raise awareness about the situation in their country.

To apply

please e-mail sheltercity@justiceandpeace.nl. You will then receive an application form. Application forms must be returned before 24 June 2016. An independent commission will select the participants.

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