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Home » ‘Beyond the Bounds: A Shelter City exhibition’ opening at The Hague City Hall

‘Beyond the Bounds: A Shelter City exhibition’ opening at The Hague City Hall

From 28 February, the exhibition Beyond the Bounds will be on display at The Hague City Hall (Atrium). Beyond the Bounds is an exhibition about Shelter City featuring the stories of six human rights defenders that temporarily stayed in the Netherlands for three months to rest and catch their breath in a safe space via Shelter City.

The term ‘Activist’ can often feel far-removed for many. Who are they? What do they do? In this exhibition, developed by photographer Bebe Blanco Agterberg, graphic designer Edward Dżulaj and Hague-based organisation Justice and Peace Netherlands, you will meet six human rights defenders who stayed in The Hague and in the Netherlands for three months. The exhibition leaves the word activist at the door, and invites you in to get to know the human side of activism through the stories of Jose, Tama, Kimsor, William, Baryalai, and Khaled. The exhibition pays tribute to those on the front line defending freedoms and standing up for justice everywhere in the world. In this way, we acknowledge the vital role they play locally, nationally and internationally in protecting and promoting human rights, often with personal sacrifices.

Shelter City Network

The six individuals portrayed in the exhibition were once participants in Shelter City, a Dutch initiative that began 8 years ago here in The Hague. Shelter City is a temporary relocation programme for human rights defenders from around the world that are threatened or at risk. Together with the municipality of The Hague, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and local Hague-based organisation, Justice and Peace Netherlands, the initiative was founded. 

Whether they are journalists, writers, artists, lawyers, LGBTI rights defenders, environmental defenders, or women’s rights activists – The Hague, 16 other Dutch and international cities and counting provide a safe space for these people. For a period of three months, human rights defenders have the opportunity to rest, re-energise, re-strategise, expand their network, and build their security, advocacy, or wellbeing capacities. To date, over 300 human rights defenders have been supported. The mission of Shelter City: to ensure sustainability in the human rights movement and claim space for civil society worldwide by supporting those that implement human rights at the local level. 

The exhibition is made possible with the support of the Dutch Nationale Postcode Loterij and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. And is a collaboration with Atrium City Hall, the foundation which organises the activities in the Atrium Den Haag.

Jose from Mexico (left) and Khaled from Egypt (right) stayed in Shelter City in the Netherlands for three months. Their stories are featured in this exhibition together with four other human rights defenders.