Scientific Research Opportunity for International Human Rights Defenders

Published 29 September 2017

International human rights defenders who want to conduct scientific research on human rights, international law or European law will have the opportunity at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut as of 1 October 2017. This opportunity is available for eligible researchers through Shelter City, a project initiated by Justice and Peace Netherlands that provides temporary relocation and training to legal practitioners prosecuted in their home country due to their commitment to human rights. The T.M.C. Asser Instituut will cooperate with Justice and Peace through the Asser Visiting Researchers programme.

Contribution to Asser’s Research Community
In addition to researching the situation in their home country, human rights defenders will be part of the regular research community and contribute to Asser Institute’s research activities for three to six months. They will also share the conclusions of their research with a wider public during lectures. Maria Kanevskaya, Director of the Human Rights Resource Center in St Petersburg, will be the first one to contribute to the T.M.C Asser Instituut research activities. Maria Kanevskya will take part in one of the three research strands of the institute, entitled ‘Human Dignity and Human Security in International and European Law’. This research strand adopts a human rights approach to contemporary global challenges as its normative framework.

Structural Contribution to Development of International Law
"By providing our knowledge and expertise, we hope to make a concrete and structural contribution to the development of expertise on international and European human rights law and to the circumstances of Human Rights Defenders while they stay at our institute. Thanks to the cooperation with Justice and Peace we are able to do this," said Janne Nijman, Academic Director of the Asser Institute. "We are grateful for this collaboration with Shelter City; we greatly value the knowledge and insights brought by the Shelter City researchers and human rights defenders to our institute."

Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Shelter City is a Justice and Peace initiative in collaboration with a growing number of Dutch cities and local organisations. Human rights defenders who are threatened in their own countries are eligible for a three-month stay in one of the Shelter Cities, including The Hague. During this period, they can continue their work in a safe environment and have a respiratory pause while at the same time expanding their network and following training. “For the human rights defenders that we work with, this fellowship programme can be of great significance”, says Sebastiaan van der Zwaan, Director of Justice and Peace Netherlands. “Not only do they enhance their research abilities and international network, but they can also apply the acquired knowledge and insights into their human rights work.”

For more information: