The Hague to be first Shelter City for activists

16th March 2012, Comments 0 comments

The city of The Hague has announced plans to offer temporary refuge to human rights activists whose lives are endangered. The municipal council ratified a proposal submitted by Green Left and the Democrats D66 on Thursday evening, which will set up the first so-called “Shelter City” in Europe, said Green Left Councillor Inge Vianen.

The two parties want to offer activists a three to six month emergency visa to allow them to recover before returning to their own country. “A temporary residence permit will be seen as a last option for activists if  they are unable to stay in the region where they’re active or if their safety cannot be guaranteed. What’s important is that they can continue their work, even if it’s temporarily at a distance,” said Vianen.

EU Shelter Cities network The EU is also in the process of setting up a network of “Shelter Cities”, the councillor explained, a network of European cities where activists whose lives are at risk can live for a while.

“People courageous enough to stand up to injustice and oppression in their own country should be given extra protection,” added Vianen.

D66 councillor Joost Sneller initiated the idea.   jn

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