Shelter City is a nationwide initiative of Justice and Peace Netherlands to protect human rights defenders, in cooperation with a growing number of Dutch cities and local organizations.

Human rights defenders defend the rights of themselves and of others. Through their work they play an important role in the promotion of democratic values, political freedoms, and civil rights. This is a challenging and dangerous fight: they are often silenced, threatened, arrested, tortured and sometimes they disappear.

If human rights defenders are being threatened because of the work they do, they qualify for a stay of three months in one of the Dutch Shelter Cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Groningen, Haarlem, Maastricht, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Middelburg, Zwolle, Tilburg and Deventer.

During their stay in the Netherlands the human rights defenders continue their work in safety and they can take a breath. They grow their network of civil society organizations and political contacts in The Hague, Brussels, and elsewhere. They also follow trainings to improve their skills, for instance regarding safety or advocacy. And they can meet city residents.