Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018

From 29 October to 31 October, Justice and Peace Netherlands will participate in the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018 as part of a consultative group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Over the course of three days, human rights defenders (HRDs) from all over the world, civil society organisations, and policy makers will convene in Paris for the protection of HRDs. During the summit, Justice and Peace will exchange on the importance of temporary relocation for human rights defenders at risk and advocate for more temporary relocation initiatives to assist HRDs in all corners of the world. 

About the HRD World Summit

The first Human Rights Defenders World Summit was held in 1998, an historic gathering that put the protection of HRDs on the map for governments, NGOs, and regional mechanisms. It was also this year that the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders was adopted twenty years ago, which recognised for the first time that everyone – individuals and collectives – has the right to defend human rights. In 20 years, many progresses have been made in the field of human rights, mainly thanks to the invaluable work of human rights defenders fighting every day for more democratic values and respects for universal rights.

Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the overcoming of it! It’s in essence what so many human rights defenders do on a daily basis, overcoming their fear to fight for the respect of human rights. They are united here in Paris these three days to join efforts. I am proud to be part of the human rights movement, despite the difficulties and setbacks that many countries face. – Marieke van der Vliet, Manager of Programmes at Justice and Peace Netherlands

This year’s HRD World Summit provides a platform for over 150 HRDs from around the world, allowing their voices to be heard. During the three days, the summit will seek to facilitate HRDs efforts to strategise and create new actions and promote HRDs call to the international community to increase its committment to protect and promote HRDs’ work around the world.  

Temporary relocation a necessity

Human rights defenders continue to work in hostile environments, suffering attacks, receiving threats offline and online, and working under intense and constant pressure. As a result, many HRDs have been forced to relocate outside their countries in recent years. During the summit, Justice and Peace will advocate for more temporary relocation initiatives to assist HRDs at risk. 

Justice and Peace began the Shelter City initiative six years ago to protect and support HRDs at risk in response to the increasing backlash towards HRDs. To date, Shelter City has relocated more than 80 defenders, offering the chance to take a break, work in safety, expand their network and receive vital security training. The imitative has also grown to include 11 Shelter Cities in the Netherlands, and four Shelter Cities in Georgia, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and Italy. 

During this Summit, we’ll bring the voice of those change makers who need a breath along their struggle, and will advocate for more temporary relocation initiatives across the world.

Shelter City will be releasing a new call for applications for human rights defenders at risk on Monday 12 November, 2018. The deadline for applications is 30 November. If you would like to spread the call, share our call online or email us at for more information. 

Follow the Human Rights Defenders Summit 2018 here.