Official Opening of Photo Exhibition: Shelter City Maastricht

On Friday, November 17, Shelter City Maastricht hosted the official opening of ‘Shelter City Maastricht: Portraits of Human Rights Defenders’ at local Maastricht cultural centre, Centre Céramique. The photo exhibition showcases ten human rights defenders that participated in the Shelter City temporary relocation programme, along with their harrowing stories.

The Mayor of Maastricht, Annemarie Penn-te Strake, opened the exhibition. During her speech, she said, “Human rights are a universal responsibility. It does not stop at the borders of countries”. Since becoming mayor, Mayor Penn-te Strake has met three human rights defenders from the Shelter City programme. Of her encounters, she said, “Every time I meet an human rights defender, my heart breaks. They are tired and weak. When they go back after 3 months, they are more relaxed and stronger.”

“Daniella [photographer] shows these brave faces of human rights defenders. These photos tell their story, you can feel it. I hope this exhibition will open people’s eyes.” – Mayor Penn-te Strake

Photo: Jean-Pierre Geusens

Joining Mayor Penn-te Strake were speeches by the Financial Director of Centre Céramique, Wim Münster, Executive Director of Justice and Peace, Sebastiaan van der Zwaan, and photographer of the photo exhibition, Daniella van Bergen. The opening also featured personal testimonials by Eline van Drongelen, the Shelter City Maastricht coordinator from Mondiaal Centrum, and Burundian human rights defender and former Shelter City Maastricht guest, Richard Nimubona.

“In our home, freedom of expression is central. Therefore, we consider it important to give this exhibition a place to share the story of these people.” – Stef Niekamp, Director of Centre Céramique

Maastricht became a Shelter City for human rights defenders in 2014. Since then, the Dutch city has supported six human rights defenders from Somaliland, Palestine, Thailand, Kenya, Burundi, and Nigeria. In the exhibition, four of these human rights defenders are featured, including Richard and Nigerian LGBTI rights defender, Judith [below].














The exhibition is on display at Centre Céramique until January 7, 2018.

Read about the opening in the article by De Limburger (NL) here. 

This exhibition was made possible by Justice and Peace Netherlands, Centre Céramique, Maastricht University, University College Maastricht, Mondiaal Centrum and Amnesty International Maastricht.

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