27 May
Studium Generale | Shelter City Lecture

Life and Work of a Central Asian Human Rights Defender

Once upon a time, a country in Central Asia was considered an island of democracy. But, nowadays it is drowning. The civic space that is crucial to a functional democratic society is shrinking and civic and political rights are under threat.
Our guest is a human rights defender who works on capacity building of human rights organisations in their country, promotion of civic and political rights, and protection of civic space. 
In doing so, they face a lot of obstacles in their work, from discriminatory laws and surveillance. 
During the lecture, our guest discusses the history of their country and tells how democracy came under pressure. They also talk about what their work as a human rights defender is like.

This lecture is organized by Studium Generale and the Shelter City Project.
The Shelter City Project is a country-wide initiative by Justice and Peace Netherlands, in cooperation with Dutch cities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which aims to protect human rights defenders. Human rights defenders stand up for their own rights and those of others. This is a difficult struggle. Often, they run great risk: they are silenced, arrested, tortured, and sometimes simply disappear. When human rights defenders are threatened severely because of their work, they are eligible for a three-month stay in one of the Dutch Shelter Cities. Besides providing rest and respite, their stay in the Netherlands allows them to continue their work in a safe environment. In addition, they enlarge their professional network of civil society organizations and political connections in The Hague, Brussels, and elsewhere. Furthermore, the human rights defenders participate in training courses to develop relevant skills. Moreover, through public events and workshops, they contribute to raising awareness about human rights among the citizens of the Shelter Cities.