Expert Meeting Dutch Shelter City Network

The organisations Hivos, UAF and the Dutch section of Amnesty International join forces to work towards the creation of a network that offers temporary shelter in the Netherlands for human rights defenders at risk under the label RESPITE.

Human rights defenders work in a non-violent way towards the realisation of fundamental rights and freedoms. Human rights defenders are journalists, lawyers, artists, scientists, (women) activists, bloggers and other people who are critical about, and denounce abuses of human rights. Due to their activities they are often targeted by the authorities in their country. This can bring them into serious trouble. A temporary respite, a rest, can be an appropriate measure to avert a threat and/or to convalesce.

Usually, shelter in the region is the most preferable solution. If this is no option, a temporary shelter in Europe, e.g. in the Netherlands, can be helpful. This is the intention of RESPITE: to invite a human rights defender at risk for a period of three months upto one year as guest to the Netherlands, for a research, a language course, a media training,or to take some time off before returning to proceed with his or her activities.

The RESPITE Network needs dedicated partners: municipalities as hosts, civil society organizations, who nominate guests and prepare their stay, and local supporters that are committed to give practical guidance.

The expert meeting will put a spotlight on experiences of existing institutions of temporary shelter for human rights defenders, so that potential network partners will get a clear picture of the feasibility of RESPITE in the Netherlands.