Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and is an open, hospitable, and international city, where human rights play an important role. In 2012, Navanethem Pillay, the then United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called Utrecht ‘the first human rights city of the Netherlands’. Together with its partners, Shelter City Utrecht hosts three human rights defenders annually.

Our support

Rest and re-energize

In Shelter City Utrecht, human rights defenders can catch their breath while taking a break from the threats and hardships that come with their work. During their stay, they can recharge and rejuvenate while being surrounded by the openness and comfort that makes Utrecht a human rights city.

Tailored support

During their stay in Shelter City Utrecht, human rights defenders are offered physical and physiological support from trained professionals to strengthen their work and continue more effectively and sustainably. Together with our partners, we ensure that defenders receive support tailored to their needs.

Engage with local allies

We support human rights defenders who wish to raise awareness for their cause by organising, for example, a lecture, a film screening or a human rights café. This allows defenders to share their experiences with a wider international audience and increase awareness of the human rights situation in their country.

Contact us


Our team

Inez de Boer
Inez de Boer

Shelter City Utrecht Coordinator, Peace Brigades International

Lizzy van Dijk
Lizzy van Dijk

Shelter City Utrecht programme officer, Peace Brigades International

Kelly Bezema
Kelly Bezema

Shelter City Utrecht programme officer, Municipality of Utrecht

Our stories

Olga, resilient in her journey for justice
During her three-month stay in The Hague, Olga penned a story to share her personal journey as a human rights defender in Venezuela.
Shelter City The Hague
Olga, preseverante en su búsqueda de justicia
Durante su estancia de tres meses en La Haya, Olga escribió un relato para compartir su trayectoria personal como defensora de los derechos humanos en Venezuela.
Shelter City The Hague
Nnedinma, regaining her mojo in Shelter City
Nnedinma tells us how her three-month stay in Tilburg with Shelter City enabled her to re-energize and regain her mojo to continue her work.
Shelter City Tilburg
Alice, on the frontlines of a high-risk profession
At the end of her three-month stay in the Netherlands, Alice wrote a story to share her experience as a journalist in the DRC.
Shelter City The Hague
Alice, en première ligne d’une profession à risque
A la fin de son séjour de trois mois aux Pays – Bas, Alice à écrit un article pour partager son expérience de journaliste en RDC.
Shelter City The Hague
Fabianna, reflecting on her connection with human rights defenders
Fabianna, a former intern at Justice & Peace Netherlands, reflects on her experience accompanying Shelter City guests participating in the initiative in the Netherlands.
Shelter City The Hague
Giving your all for the things you believe in
Wouter Ermens recounts his experience interning in the role of a programme coordinator of Shelter City Nijmegen and supporting a Shelter City guest.
Shelter City Nijmegen
Sheyla: “Freedom is my favourite word”
"I am Sheyla Urdaneta, I am a journalist, and a woman: a double risk in Venezuela, where liberty of expression and press are constricted."
Shelter City Haarlem

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