Pride Amsterdam 2018: Celebrating heroes of human rights

On the 4th of August, Shelter City guests Graciela from Mexico and Brigitte from Senegal were invited to celebrate the Pride Amsterdam 2018 parade on the boat of Amnesty International Netherlands. The boat of Amnesty illustrated the shrinking space of LGBTI activists worldwide and won Best Design of the Canal Parade. During the boat ride, Graciela and Brigitte were able to sing, dance and celebrate.

Pride Amsterdam remains one the biggest celebrations of gay pride around the world. It attracts more than 350,000 participants and visitors every year. This year’s theme of Pride Amsterdam was ‘Heroes’. The theme connects to people who take the lead, stand up for the rights of others, and spread awareness publicly.

For Brigitte and Graciela, the Pride Amsterdam 2018 was a fun event. They enjoyed the festive and positive vibe in the city and were amazed by the number of people that watched the Canal Parade.

The day before the Canal Parade, Graciela and Brigitte followed a workshop together with many other human rights defenders from all over the world. The activity was organised by Amnesty International Netherlands and Greenpeace. Three parallel sessions took place with a focus on rapid response, digital security and building regional partnership. The workshops offered a great opportunity for them to learn new skills and share their experiences with other human rights defenders.

After the lunch break, Brigitte participated in a ‘speed dating’ session together with LGBTI activists from the Middle East and (Northern) Africa that allowed the activists to engage with others about their work. The session was organized by COC Netherlands, the municipality of Amsterdam, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and RVO. Justice and Peace was invited by the organisers to be part of the event.

During the activity, Justice and Peace provided information about the Shelter City programme at one of the information tables. Other interesting organisations and initiatives were also present such as Maruf and the Pink in Blue network. During the event, the human rights defenders had the chance to engage with multiple organisations and initiatives for a period of ten minutes. Once the organisers rang the bell, the human rights defenders were asked to switch tables. The session was a great opportunity for Brigitte to speak with other human rights defenders working on similar issues and make new contacts in the Netherlands.