Human Rights Defenders

Working in the human rights sector has risks associated at various levels and often human rights defenders face imminent threats or experience targeted violence. There are emergency support and funds available from a number of sources, some of which are flexible while others have strict requirements on how the funds can be used.

Emergency Funds

The Netherlands: Shelter City Initiative

This national initiative is implemented by Justitia et Pax (Justice and Peace), a Dutch NGO. It allows human rights defenders who are being severely threatened because of their work to apply for a three-month temporary shelter in one of the six Dutch Shelter Cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Middleburg, Maastricht, Nijmegen and Utrecht. The program covers travel and visa costs, as well as health insurance and the cost of the three-month stay. It also offers capacity building activities, medical care, and psychological care. To be eligible, defenders must speak English or French and be willing to speak out in public.

How to apply: Twice a year, by email and social media, Justitia et Pax calls for applications. Dutch embassies and consulates and the European representations also help to identify candidates. Defenders can also email a staff member at Justitia et Pax for more information through their website.

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