Deventer offers breathing space to human rights defenders

Deventer is now officially a part of the Shelter City network to protect human rights defenders. On Wednesday 11 April, Mayor of Deventer, Andries Heidema, signed the agreement making Shelter City Deventer official. In September 2018, Deventer will receive its first human rights defender. The municipality will work together with Woon- en Zorgcentrum Humanitas and Saxion Hogeschool.

Mayor of Deventer, Andries Heidema: “The initiative for this comes from the city council. Deventer has traditionally been internationally oriented and we are committed to human rights. Humanitas, Saxion and the municipality will work together, each with their own role to play.”


Humanitas will offer shelter, psychological support if necessary, and coordinate the programme of the human rights defender during their stay in the Netherlands. Saxion University of Applied Sciences offers a work space and practical guidance. The municipality supports the project financially and in terms of content. Together, they will ensure that the human rights defender can get a peace of mind, re-energise, and access the necessary tools they need to continue their work safely and effectively for when they return to their home country.


Shelter City Deventer will start with a trial period of two years. The initiative will then be evaluated together with local partners and Justice and Peace Netherlands. The municipal authorities then decide on a possible continuation.

Mayor of Deventer, Andries Heidema with Marieke van der Vliet, Shelter City Programme Manager from Justice and Peace Netherlands.