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Shelter City - Support Centres

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.

Justice and Peace established Shelter City in 2012 on the request of their network of international human rights defenders. After the first Shelter City in The Hague, Middelburg joined in 2014, followed by Nijmegen, Maastricht, Utrecht, and Amsterdam in 2015, Tilburg and Groningen in 2016 and Zwolle and Haarlem in 2017. In 2018 Deventer also joined the Shelter City network. Rotterdam followed in 2020. Tbilisi & Batumi (Georgia), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Cotonou (Benin) and San José (Costa Rica) have joined the network as International Shelter City Hubs. The expectation is that other cities (in or outside the Netherlands) will join in the future as well. The growing number of applications from Human Rights Defenders under threat shows that new Shelter Cities are strongly needed.

In every Shelter City the municipality, local organizations, universities, and Justice and Peace provide the shelter and take care of the program for the human rights defender. Together with the human rights defenders they organize meetings and workshops that contribute to the raising of awareness about human rights issues among the inhabitants of the Shelter Cities.

Shelter City is affiliated with the EU Human Rights Defenders Relocation Platform

Netherlands: Journalists’ safety increasingly under attack - Article

The European Federation of Journalists is concerned by the situation and calls on the authorities to do the utmost to protect journalists and investigate all attacks

Extradition proceedings against Jonathan Taylor need to end! - Article

A wide range of organisations calls on Croatia and Monaco to end extradition proceedings and asks the European Parliament to condemn the ongoing harassment of such an important whistleblower

A call on UK authorities to intervene on behalf of whistleblower Jonathan Taylor, stuck in Croatia - Article

This letter was sent electronically to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and First Secretary of State, Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP

Call for whistleblower Jonathan Taylor to be protected - Article

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners, media protection, human rights, transparency and whistleblowing support organisations, alongside international jurists call on Monaco to immediately withdraw the arrest warrant that led to SBM Offshore whistleblower Jonathan Taylor being arrested in Dubrovnik airport

Safety of Journalists and the Fighting of Corruption in the EU - Reports

A study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee (Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) examines the chilling effect of crimes and threats against media workers, exploring regulatory and other measures to counter the phenomenon

Safety of Journalists: Recommendations to the UK Government - Article

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) outlines examples of good practice from across EU Member States and Candidate caountries that can be incorporated into the approach of the UK National Committee and Action Paln for the Safety of Journalists. Here the full text

Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020 - Datasets

An interactive tool to browse and compare data from the 2020 Reuters Institute Digital News Report 

Press Cartoonists in Europe must be protected - Article

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners call for press cartoonists to be protected to ensure they can realise their right to free expression across Europe

Ending SLAPPs, Gag Lawsuits in Europe, to Protect Democracy and Fundamental Rights - Article

More than 100 press freedom and human rights organizations have signed a statement asking EU institutions to tackle the problem of strategic lawsuits against public participation, an issue that limits freedom of expression and hits freedom of speech with a dangerous chilling effect. Here the letter: