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The T.M.C. Asser Institute is an internationally renowned foundation which conducts fundamental and independent policy-orientated research. The institute focuses on public international law, private international law and European law. Every year, the Asser Institute hosts one human rights defender from Justice and Peace’s Shelter City initiative, an initiative which aims to protect and support human rights defenders at risk through temporary relocation and security training. In the context of the Institute’s Visiting Researchers Programme, the fellow will carry out a research project at the Asser Institute during their three-month stay.


The Fellowship Programme for Human Rights Defenders will take place from September to December 2019 in The Hague, Netherlands. The fellow will carry out a research project during the relocation period and take part in other relevant research activities of the Asser Institute. With this programme, Justice and Peace and the Asser Institute aims to add the support of HRD’s work in (applied) human rights law research. In line with these activities the Fellow might also perform in public events like lectures or (panel) discussions. 

The Asser Institute, supported by Justice and Peace, will select 1 candidate per year for the Fellowship Programme. A monthly stipend, accommodation, health insurance, visa and flight tickets to The Netherlands are provided.


Criteria for Eligibility:

In order to be eligible for the Fellowship Programme for Human Rights Defenders, the applicant must meet the following conditions:

  1. The applicant must be a human rights defender. His/her work promotes Human Rights or he/she fights against Human Rights Violations in a non-violent way;
  2. The HRD has a relevant degree in (international human rights) law and a few years of relevant experience in human rights law work, either in practice or in academia.
  3. The HRD is threatened or otherwise under intense pressure due to their work and can benefit from a short period of time abroad;
  4. The HRD has a proven track record on conducting research activities and work in (applied) human rights law research;
  5. The HRD is willing to carry out a research project that aims to contribute to the improvement of human rights and is able to carry this out independently in the relocation period of 3 months;
  6. Since this is a temporary relocation programme, the HRD is able and willing to return to the country of origin after 3 months;
  7. The HRD has a good command of English (professional working proficiency – both active and passive);
  8. The HRD is willing to speak out in public and take part in (relevant) research activities of the Asser Institute;
  9. The HRD should be willing/able to come alone;
  10. They have a valid passport (with no less than six months of validity) or be willing to carry out the procedures for its issuance. Justice and Peace covers the costs of issuing a passport and / or visa (if applicable);
  11. They are not subjected to any measure or judicial prohibition of leaving the country;
  12. The HRD is willing to come to The Netherlands around September 2019 for a period of 3 months.

Note that additional factors will be taken into consideration in the final round of selection, such as the added (professional) value of a stay in The Netherlands as well as gender, geographic, and thematic balance.

If you do not meet these conditions, but would still like to apply for relocation, please contact us. We can try to put you in contact with other organizations who have relocation programmes with different parameters.

Interested persons can request an application form by emailing to

Application forms must be sent to before 14 June 2019. Please complete all sections of the application form.

More Information Here


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