September 2, 2019
Batumi joins Shelter City
Batumi, in Georgia, has joined the Shelter City movement in its mission of providing a safe and inspiring space for human rights defenders at risk.
Shelter City in Georgia
On 15th May 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Human Rights Committee of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, in particular by the Head of the Committee, Ilia Verdzadze, Executive Director of Truth Hounds, Svitlana Valko, and Executive Director of the Centre for Participation and Development, Giorgi Marjanishvili.
As a result, Batumi became the second city in Georgia to join Shelter City and the sixteenth city worldwide.
In 2017 Tbilisi was the first city outside of the Netherlands to join the Shelter City movement and since then it has welcomed 80 human rights defenders from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iraq.
Relocation of human rights defenders to Batumi
Batumi has already received its first Shelter City guest from Chechnya, who has been experiencing pressure from the authorities for her human rights work. Thanks to its location, Batumi will be central in welcoming human rights defenders from Central Asia, Belarus, Russia and some parts of Ukraine.
Batumi will provide support to between three and six human rights defenders per year, including four guests with dependents. This is an important step in supporting particularly women human rights defenders as responsibilities of care remain an obstacle for women to receiving support such as temporary relocation.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time on the sea and I will soon start my driving lessons and massages. I’m also looking forward to my psychological counselling sessions and I will have consultations with a cardiologist. I hope the time I spend here in Batumi will be relaxing and that I will go back refreshed.” – Batumi’s first guest