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Home » A message of support for human rights defenders: Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie
24-05-21

A message of support for human rights defenders: Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie

The Dutch Human Rights Ambassador, Bahia Tahzib-Lie, shares with us how her commitment to human rights began and the importance of supporting human rights defenders. Justice & Peace together with our partners in the 12 Shelter Cities in the Netherlands are honoured to be welcoming the ambassador in each Shelter City this year.

The first city kicking off the tour of Shelter City is Zwolle, with a public online event on 27 May at 19.00-21.00. Click here to find out more information. 

“When I was a teenager I heard about Mona Mahmudnizhad. This courageous young Iranian woman stood up for who she was and was hanged because of her faith. This left an indelible impression on me, not least because we were exactly the same age and shared the same religion (Bahá’í). It was a turning point for me. I became greatly interested in human rights and studied law. My passion for human rights and my respect for human rights defenders has only grown since then.

Human rights are for everyone, and we don’t want to see them taken away – from us or from others.

More and more human rights defenders are being intimidated (online and off), threatened or even murdered. That is extremely alarming. For many people, human rights defenders are a source of hope and inspiration. They fight bravely and tirelessly for our human rights. And their work is sorely needed, because human rights are under serious pressure all over the world. Human rights are for everyone, and we don’t want to see them taken away – from us or from others. That’s why my colleagues and I are working with like-minded countries and partner organisations such as Justice and Peace to make human rights defenders safer.

I’m proud of the partnership between Justice & Peace, the participating cities and my own ministry. Through its Shelter City programme the Netherlands is making a real difference. A short stay in a Shelter City gives human rights defenders renewed energy to continue their activism in their home countries. I’m looking forward to joining Justice & Peace on a tour of the Shelter Cities this year, and talking to local people about human rights and the work of those dedicated to defending them.”

– Dutch Human Rights Ambassador, Bahia Tahzib-Lie

From all of us at Justice & Peace, we thank Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie for sharing this message with us, for her continued support to human rights defenders, and we look forward to welcoming her in Shelter Cities across the Netherlands throughout 2021.