Your impact by taking part in Ride for Rights
Protect human rights and those defending them
Ride for Rights 2019 fundraises for the Dutch initiative Shelter City, which provides support and protection to human rights defenders at risk.
With the shrinking space for civil society, defending human rights is becoming more dangerous. In many countries, those that defend human rights are being silenced, threatened, arrested, tortured, and sometimes forcibly disappeared by government actors or other groups.
The Shelter City initiative, which works with 11 Dutch cities, offers temporary relocation, training and safety to international human rights defenders such as journalists, community leaders, lawyers, artists and academics who fight against human rights violations in their home countries but are threatened because of their work.
Providing a shield for human rights defenders and their communities
The money raised from Ride for Rights will be 100% used for security trainings for human rights defenders in the Shelter City programme in September-December 2019.
These security trainings are one of the most important parts of the Shelter City initiative. Think about it like a shield. By giving human rights defenders the skills and tools they need to protect themselves and their colleagues or communities, whether its physical and digital security, they can continue promoting human rights safely and effectively over the long term.
Who do I cycle for?
A human rights defender is a person who, individually or with others, acts to promote or protect human rights non-violently. Human rights defenders (HRDs) defend the rights and freedoms of others in their communities and stand up against human rights violations and injustices. The EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders describes HRDs as: "Human rights defenders are those individuals, groups and organs of society that promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. Human rights defenders seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realisation of economic, social and cultural rights. Human rights defenders also promote and protect the rights of members of groups such as indigenous communities. The definition does not include those individuals or groups who commit or propagate violence”
While anyone can be a human rights defender, a few examples can be lawyers, journalists, community leaders, activists, artists, health workers, scholars, teachers, field workers documenting human rights violations, founders or employees of civil society organisations - they list is broad. These people play an important role in the promotion of democratic values, political liberties, and civil rights in their communities.
Human rights defenders are from all around the world, but the levels of risk defending human rights varies depending on the environment. With the shrinking space for civil society, defending human rights is becoming more dangerous in many places. In many countries, they are silenced, threatened, arrested, tortured, and sometimes forcibly disappeared by government actors or other groups.
Shelter City is a Dutch initiative turned international movement committed to maximising the protection and recognition of human rights defenders (HRDs) through temporary relocation, security, capacity building, and advocacy training, and by connecting HRDs with relevant regional and international bodies.
The Shelter City initiative provides much more than temporary relocation to human rights defenders at risk. An important part of Shelter City is security training for human rights defenders. During their stay, human rights defenders take part in an extensive and holistic training that equips them with the skills to protect themselves and their organisations, whether through Digital Security, Physical Security, Organisational Security, or Psychological Well-being.
This training has proven to be a sustainable and impactful approach to promoting human rights and those that defend them at the local level worldwide. When one individual is trained in security, they are able to pass their knowledge on to their communities, organizations and fellow human rights defenders. This way, by empowering one human rights defender, we are empowering whole communities to realise their human rights!