Increasing the support to human rights defenders in Central America



June 26, 2019

Increasing the support to human rights defenders in Central America

In June 2019, San José in Costa Rica marked its first year as part of Shelter City. The capital city of San José officially joined Shelter City in 2018 and has since greatly contributed to supporting human rights defenders in Central America. 

The creation of Shelter City Costa Rica

The official signing of Shelter City Costa Rica took place on 5th February 2018, with the attendance of the Dutch Ambassador to Costa Rica, Peter Derrek Hof, Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Ana Helena Chacón, and Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel González Sanz.

The signing marked an incredibly important step towards the protection of human rights defenders in Central America, a region particularly dangerous for those defending human rights and the environment in recent years.

A safe space to build capacity and re-energize

To date, Shelter City Costa Rica has temporarily relocated 15 human rights defenders and 13 dependents from Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The guests have different backgrounds, including fighting for access to justice, indigenous rights, women’s rights, LGBTIQ+ rights, environmental and land rights, digital rights, and freedom to information and press.

Shelter City Costa Rica provides its guests with activities to enhance their wellbeing and re-energize. It also offers trainings on capacity building, digital, physical and psychological security, and legal skills.

“In Shelter City, one can get out a bit of the stressful and threatening routine that we are living, think things through, what we are doing wrong, what we are doing well, what can be improved, and as a young person if I have some capabilities that I want to strengthen there is that possibility too.” – Nicaraguan human rights defender and Shelter City Costa Rica guest

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