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NHC Event at The Hague International Open Day

01 October 2018

On Sunday 23 September 2018, the NHC, Justice and Peace and Human Security Collective welcomed visitors during the Hague International Open Day. The three organizations worked together to present international NGOs working in the Nutshuis.

Taking place the Sunday after the International Day of Peace, the event celebrates The Hague as an international city of peace and justice. The day highlights the important work undertaken by the city’s organizations to promote and protect a better world and offers members of the public a chance to better understand the nature of such work. Jennifer Pampolina, NHC Communications Officer, opened the event with a brief introduction to the NHC, its history, mission and key themes; Strengthening Civil Society, Securing the Rule of Law and Safeguarding Human Rights.

The day highlights the important work undertaken by the city’s organizations to promote and protect a better world”

Jennifer Pampolina and Aaron Clements-Hunt in front of the NHC display. (photo c/o: JustPeace - Eyeconic Frames)

Aaron Clements-Hunt, NHC Junior Associate, then introduced guests – in more detail – to the concept of Rule of Law. Discussion centered around what exactly is meant by the Rule of Law and why we should care about the Rule of Law in countries that may seem far removed from our own political and social realities. To illustrate the NHC’s work in securing the Rule of Law the presentation narrowed its focus to examine the NHCs current program to strengthen the system of probation and alternative sanctions in Montenegro and Serbia. 

A short quiz introduced attendees to key themes and challenges in Europe’s prisons, notably overcrowding, re-offending and expense, and demonstrated how effective systems of probation and alternative sanctions would relieve such pressures. Clements-Hunt then emphasized the NHC’s efforts – through establishing a working relationship between Montenegrin officials and Dutch probation experts, organizing training events and creating best-practice guidelines – is working to assist criminal justice officials to create and maintain an effective system of probation and alternative sanctions in Montenegro.

Attendees then heard about work to de-stigmatize human rights defense and actions assisting activists who face persecution and repression because of their work. They watched a video explaining the story of Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayanov, created as part of a campaign calling for their release. Attendees were encouraged to show their own solidarity by writing postcards, provided by the NHC, to send to Max Bokayev and Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli. The session concluded with a Q&A during which audience members could ask any questions they had regarding the NHC and its activities.

Prior to the NHC’s program, Justice and Peace presented the stories of two human rights defenders from Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was followed by a short digital security training workshop. Human Security Collective, who presented after the NHC, covered topics including youth participation in conflict transformation, helping policy makers formulate action plans for the prevention of violent extremism, and raising awareness of the adverse and unintended consequences of counter-terrorism policy.