Shelter City Netherlands: Call for temporary relocation in 2020

Shelter City Netherlands: Call for temporary relocation in 2020

Justice and Peace Netherlands is launching a new call for human rights defenders at risk to participate in the Shelter City initiative around March 2020. The deadline to apply is 29 November 2019.  

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 compulsory training on holistic security), extend their network and raise awareness about the situation in their country. Activities can include meetings with NGOs and public officials, public lectures, rest or leisure, treatment for work-related problems, continuing working remotely on human rights in their country, raising awareness of human rights with 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 continue their work at home. A monthly stipend sufficient to cover costs of living, accommodation, health insurance, visa and return flight tickets to the Netherlands are provided. In addition, participants receive personal accompaniment throughout their stay in the Netherlands.

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, lawyers, civil rights defenders, independent media professionals, civil society members, and others working to peacefully advance human rights and democracy 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:

  1. They implement a non-violent approach in their work;
  2. They are threatened or otherwise under pressure due to their work;
  3. 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;
  4. They are willing and able to return to their country of origin after 3 months;
  5. They are willing to speak publicly about their experience or about human rights in their country to the extent that their security situation allows;
  6. They have a conversational level* of English (limited spots are available for French or Spanish speaking HRDs);
  7. They are willing and able to come to The Netherlands without accompaniment of family members;
  8. They have a valid passport (with no less than six months of validity) or be willing to carry out the procedures for its issuance. Justice and Peace covers the costs of issuing a passport and / or visa (if applicable);
  9. They are not subjected to any measure or judicial prohibition of leaving the country;
  10. They are willing to begin their stay in The Netherlands around March 2020. 

*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.

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 29 November 2019, at 23:59 CET (Central European Time). An independent commission will select the participants.

Apply Now for Shelter City 2020

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.

For more information, please contact us at

‘Violence against human rights defenders rising’

‘Violence against human rights defenders rising’


Henri Tiphagne spoke at a State-level workshop about human rights and its defenders.

There is a rise in instances of violence against human rights defenders in the State, according to Henri Tiphagne, national working secretary of Human Rights Defenders’ Alert (HRDA), here on Sunday.

He was speaking at a State-level workshop organised with National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ), Social Awareness Society for Youth (SASY) and HRDA. Mr. Tiphagne spoke about the recent incident in Karur where two human rights defenders – Veeramalai and his son Nallathambi, were hacked to death. “They questioned about encroachment of a water body. The government must pay compensation to their family,” he said.

More than 90 human rights defenders from across the State participated in the workshop. A list of demands, including a call for legislation to recognise and protect rights of the human rights defenders, equipping the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with appropriate infrastructure and withdrawal of false charges against human rights defenders were discussed.


“The government is targeting human rights defenders, terming them ‘urban naxals.’ The activists are put behind bars and their families harassed,” said Kamalchand Kispotta, advocacy officer, NDMJ. I. Pandiyan, Executive Director, SASY, said the recent amendment to the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993, compromised the autonomy of the NHRC. “According to the United Nations’ Declaration, the State must pass legislation to protect human rights defenders,” he said.

Press Statement – CSOs, HRDs welcome NHRC meeting with civil society, human rights defenders


Press Statement

CSOs, HRDs welcome NHRC meeting with civil society, human rights defenders

New Delhi, June 14 — Civil society groups and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) from across India have welcomed the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) revival of its dialogue with civil society and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).

On Thursday, 13th June, the NHRC convened a meeting of its Core Group of NGOs and Human Rights Defenders which was attended by HRDs working across a spectrum of issues.

At the outset, the NHRC acknowledged its own status as a HRD and the value of the work of HRDs in furthering India’s democracy and development agenda. It also affirmed its commitment to protecting HRDs in keeping with India’s international obligations under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the action plan developed at the World Summit of HRDs in 2018.

The deliberations expressed deep concern about the scale and continuation of human rights violations: these include reprisals against those that bring state wrongdoing to notice locally and internationally; the targeting of grass roots activists, journalists, and minorities; the abuse of power frequently used to crush dissent; and stressed the patterns of victimisation such as that of Muslims, through targeted killings in the guise of cow protection and the dangers of statelessness arising out of the ongoing National Register of Citizens exercise in Assam. The NHRC was urged to check that no violations of Article 21, which protects the rights and liberty of all persons living in the country, take place, and India’s full adherence to all international commitments.

Particular concern was expressed of the continuing incarceration of Dr. GN Saibaba in Nagpur Central Jail. Severely disabled and unable to move on his own, Dr. Saibaba’s health has been rapidly deteriorating due to inadequate medical treatment and day-to-day assistance. The HRDs and CSO representatives called on the NHRC “to immediately intervene to ensure he is moved to a well-equipped medical facility, approved by him and his family, at the earliest”. Any further delay, they underlined, could “prove fatal to Dr. Saibaba”.

The NHRC’s attention was directed to the arrest of nine HRDs, currently lodged in Pune Jail, allegedly in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case. As their implication in the case is strongly contested, the centrality of the NHRC’s role was stressed. It was urged to monitor the court proceedings to ensure due process is upheld at every stage. Its continuing vigilance was stressed in light of the recent raids on the office and residence of Stan Swamy, believed to be an act of reprisal for his human rights work.

The urgent necessity to take greater visible and decisive steps to ensure protection of HRDs, through the aegis of the NHRC, was repeatedly highlighted. Training of all human rights commissions was urged, to stress the responsibility of the State to protect HRDs. The NHRC was called on to give the existing Focal Point for HRDs full-time charge in view of the extensive work required, and be active in using HRD networks across the nation.

In solidarity with each other, the NHRC and the HRDs affirmed a joint commitment to work together to protect HRDs, proactively intervene in human rights violations, and deepen engagement through regular and frequent dialogue.

NHRC members who attended the hearing included Dr. DM Mulay (IFS, Retd), Justice PC Pant, Ms. Jyotika Kalra and Secretary-General Jaideep Govind.


Aman Biradari Trust

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Human Rights Defenders’ Alert – India (HRDA)

People’s Union for Civil Liberties

Quill Foundation

SICHREM – South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring

Press Statement-Condemning the malicious act of circulating manipulated video of Prof. Fathima Babu

November 22, 2018


Condemning the malicious act of circulating manipulated video of Prof. Fathima Babu

 We are expressing our strong condemnation over the manipulated video of Prof. Fathima Babu, convenor of anti-Sterlite coalition that has been circulated since yesterday in the social media websites and platforms which allegedly portrays her in a compromising position with her colleague Mr. Raja, who is also associated with the anti-Sterlite movement.

The video is known to be recorded using a spy camera at a hotel room in the month of October when Prof. Fathima and her colleagues of the anti-Sterlite coalition travelled to Chennai to attend the hearing before the expert committee of the National Green Tribunal regarding the case against closure of Sterlite Industries in Thoothukudi this year. The video has been cleverly edited and manipulated to portray Prof. Fathima in a compromising position.

It was also falsely claimed that the video has been leaked by ‘Makkal Adhigaram’, an organisation which is also working towards the permanent closure of Sterlite Industries in Thoothukudi. We strongly believe this is a cheap effort taken to divide the anti-Sterlite movement and also to create ‘caste’ conflict within the anti-Sterlite coalition. Makkal Adhigaram has released a statement denying this allegation, and we strongly appreciate their position over this incident.

We also strongly iterate the fact that this incident is a gross violation of individual privacy and vehemently condemn this act of scandalising a women human rights defender. It is being alleged that this perverted effort to scandalise and defame a genuine women human rights defender has the handiworks of the business house against whom Prof. Fathima Babu has been working against for decades and also the connivance of the police.

We also state that circulation of such videos and pictures in the public domain about WHRDs is witnessed globally and it has been iterated in the report of the then United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Ms. Margaret Sekaggya in her in report that “women defenders often find themselves and their work subjected to stigmatization by both State and non-State actors”. This concerted effort would not only shame and discredit the WHRDs work but will also possibly contribute to the public repudiation.

Hence, we demand that the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu sets up an immediate enquiry into this matter and order for an investigation by the Cyber Crime Cell to find out:

  • How a spy camera has been fixed exactly at the room where Prof. Fathima Babu has
  • stayed and who has fixed it? And who fixed it
  • Who has edited the video to purportedly show Prof. Fathima in a compromising position?
  • To find the source of this video

We as a platform working for the protection of women/human rights defenders would like to strongly state that this incident done with the mala fide intent is not only to discredit the work and efforts of the WHRD concerned but also to defame the entire anti-Sterlite coalition and we stand in solidarity with Prof. Fathima and the Vyabarigal Sangam which Raja represents to overcome this concerted campaign.

We earnestly call upon all citizens of Thoothukudi , all movements and platforms which work against Sterlite Industries in courts, on the streets, in the villages not to get divided due to this malicious effort and continue to unitedly fight against all state and non-state actors who are trying to work against the will of the citizens of Thoothukudi and the people of Tamil Nadu towards the permanent closure of Sterlite Industries in Thoothukudi.

Henri Tiphagne

Executive Director