Shelter City offers human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk a possibility for rest and respite by letting them escape temporarily from a threatening situation. The initiative can benefit human rights defenders that are threatened or under intense pressure due to their work. Shelter City is an initiative coordinated by Justice and Peace Netherlands together with municipalities in the Netherlands, local partners, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
How does Shelter City work?
Through temporary relocation, human rights defenders will be offered a shelter for 3 months in one of the Shelter Cities in the Netherlands, during which they can rest, continue their work in safety, build up capacity (including a one-week compulsory training on security), extend their network and raise awareness about the situation in their country. Activities can include meetings with NGOs and public authorities, public lectures, rest or leisure, treatment for work-related problems, continuing working on human rights in their country, raising awareness of human rights among the Dutch public or participating in local initiatives organised by the municipality and/or the host organisation. At the end of the programme, participants are expected to return with new tools and energy to carry out their work at home. A monthly stipend, accommodation, health insurance, visa and return flight tickets to The Netherlands are provided.
Who can apply for Shelter City?
For the purposes of Shelter City, the term HRD is intended to refer to the broad range of activists, journalists, scholars, writers, artists, political figures, lawyers, civil rights defenders, independent media professionals, civil society members, and others working to advance human rights and democracy peacefully around the world.
Applicants must fulfil the following conditions:
In order to be eligible to the Shelter City programme, HRDs must meet the following conditions:
- They implement a non-violent approach in their work;
- They are threatened or otherwise under pressure due to their work.;
- They should be able to be relocated for a period of maximum 3 months. Limited spots are available for people who are not able to stay for the full 3 months;
- They are willing and able to return to their country of origin after 3 months;
- They are willing to speak publicly about their experience or about human rights in their country to the extent that their security situation allows.
- They have a conversational level* of English (limited spots are available for French or Spanish speaking HRDs);
- They are willing and able to come to The Netherlands without accompaniment;
- They are willing to begin their stay in The Netherlands around March 2019.
*By conversational English we mean that participants’ level of English allows them to actively participate in a training, speak about their work, communicate with the host city, etc.
Note that additional factors will be taken into consideration in the final round of selection, such as the added value of a stay in The Netherlands as well as gender, geographic, and thematic balance. Please note that we can only accept HRDs currently residing in a third country under exceptional circumstances.
How to apply
To apply or submit the application of a human rights defender, please fill in the form by clicking ‘Apply Now’ below. Application forms must be completed by 30 November 2018, at 23:59 CET (Central European Time). An independent commission will select the participants.
Note that the selected human rights defenders will not be automatically allowed into the Shelter City programme as Justice and Peace is not in control of issuing the required visas to enter the Netherlands.
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