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Shelter City Amsterdam Programme

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


Human rights defenders fight for 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 threatened because of their work, they qualify for a three-month stay in one of the Dutch Shelter Cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Groningen, Haarlem, Maastricht, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Middelburg, Zwolle, Tilburg, or 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.

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Current guest 


Shi, an LGBTIQ+ rights advocate, heads Casa Rara in Costa Rica, providing refuge for LGBTIQ+ youth facing violence due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Despite legal strides like same-sex marriage, pervasive discrimination persists in the country. Homicide rates remain alarming, often linked to organised crime and drug trafficking. LGBTIQ+ individuals still face police brutality and opposition from conservative groups.

Former guests

Since 2015, Amsterdam has received several human rights defenders from all over the world, defining a wide range of human rights.
Click on one of the pictures below to read more about them and their work. 

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