Our impact

Our impact

Over the course of 10 years, Shelter City has grown to become a global movement of 21 cities who provide safe and inspiring spaces to human rights defenders. Together we have supported 400 human rights defenders and made great impact on their work, their organizations and their communities.

Shelter City

We envision a world where we can all safely contribute to just and peaceful societies.

Shelter Cities around the world
Partner organizations
Human rights defenders

Shelter City Impact Study

In 2021, Justice & Peace Netherlands, the organization who initiated Shelter City in 2012,  asked external consultant Danille de Winter to conduct a study on Shelter City. The aim of the study was to explore the impact made by Shelter City in the Netherlands on the work and lives of participating human rights defenders and their organizations over the course of 10 years.



The results of the study were collected in a report that it is now available for everyone to read and share.

The report includes quotes from interviewed Shelter City guests and five anounymous impact stories by previous guests on how they life and work has changed after their experience at Shelter City.


  • Interviews with former Shelter City guests
  • 4 impact indicators
  • 5 impact stories
  • Detailed explanation of the Shelter City’s impact


Learn more about the impact of Shelter City.

Download the report here.

The main results:


  • Participants felt that their experience at Shelter City went beyond their expections and changed their lives.
  • Shelter City has contributed to human rights defenders being able to continue their work by allowing them to re-energize away from threats, meet other defenders, gain more confidence and a sense of recogniziton for their work, develop new perspectives on human rights work.
  • Participants now apply improved strategies and security measures in their work, as well as wellbeing practices. The trainings offered by Justice & Peace during their stay greatly contributed to this.
  • Shelter City guests feel safer, thanks to the improved security measures they now apply and to the international network they were able to create during their stay.
  • Participants’ local communities and organizations also benefit from Shelter City as participants share their knowledge, skills and networks with them upon return.

"Even though it has been over a year that I have participated in Shelter City, I still benefit from the experience each day"

“My experience at Shelter City allowed me to empower myself and my collective”

“My stay at Shelter City in the Netherlands changed how I approach my human rights work."

“I learned to work in a constructive way, more strategically, and less warrior-like."

“The fact that I did not have to look across my shoulder constantly created a great deal of relief and allowed me to recuperate.”

“The Shelter City programme reminded me that I am human before being a defender.”

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