Human rights defenders who took part in Shelter City

Irène Esambo

“Those who take risks need to be encouraged in their fight for the freedom of expression” said Irène Esambo during an interview in the Netherlands. Irène is a lawyer from Kinshasa, Congo. In her work in Congo she often defends other human rights defenders and fights against impunity in cases of rape. In addition, Ms. Esambo works for the improvement of the position of women in employment in the army and the police. Since her stay in The Hague, she has been accepted as a lawyer at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In her capacity as lawyer at the ICC, she conducts research for ongoing cases and interviews victims in Congo. During her stay in the Netherlands Irène was paired up with Marit Maij and Michiel Servaes as a part of the Justitia et Pax Connect-2-Protect Project.

Justice and Peace Netherlands stands up for human rights and social justice. Worldwide and in the Netherlands. We work for lasting peace, a just world society and justice for all.

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Shelter City


Shelter City: The Hague Initiative offers human rights defenders the possibility for rest and respite by letting them escape from a temporarily threatening situation. Shelter City is a last resort when shelter in the region is not possible and the safety of the human rights defender in question cannot be guaranteed. An important principle of the Shelter City Initiative is that human rights defenders continue their work, even if they are temporarily relocated.