* Sharia'a means “path” or “pathway to be followed” in Arabic. The Shari'a law consists of legal commands recognised as Islamic law. The Islamic law implementation varies based on cultural, customary, historical, and political factors and, all as local interests. Source: Ahmad, Neven & Pinar Tank (2021) Shari’a Law and Women’s Rights. GPS Centre Gender and Mediation Backgrounder. Oslo: PRIO.
Oslo Breathing Space City
Oslo Breathing Space City is a temporary relocation programme with the aim of creating a breathing space for human rights defenders living in stressful or hostile environments. The pilot project running in 2023 and 2024 is rooted in Norwegian civil society and was initiated by five Norway-based organisations: Amnesty International Norway, Human Rights House Foundation, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the Rafto Foundation and The Norwegian Human Rights Fund (NHRF). The NHRF acts as the secretariat. The funding for this pilot project comes from the Oslo municipality, Amnesty International, as well as other donors.
Through this initiative, two human rights defenders from different parts of the world receive the opportunity to come to Oslo each semester for a stay of up to three months. The aim is that this allows them to take a break from their everyday life in stressful and hostile environments, and then return to their home countries with a larger and stronger network, having rested and recovered, and carrying feelings of solidarity and support with them. Breathing Space City is also a tool to educate a wider audience, namely the citizens of Oslo, on human rights work to create solidarity between cities and human rights movements around the world. The programme is tailored to each defender’s needs and wishes and includes elements such as psychosocial support and well-being, enhancing their support network, training in areas of interest, cultural and leisure activities, as well as participation in activities for awareness-raising and advocacy.
Please note that throughout this pilot project, we do not have open calls for applications. In case a call for applications is opened, it will be posted on this website.
Past participants of the programme
Naghma Iqtidar, Pakistan
“It was great experience both in terms of providing a space to reenergize and rethink and in terms of opportunities of exposure and networking. [...] I got the much-required space for reflection and planning and a lot of learning opportunities. Living 3 months in a different society itself was a learning experience.”
Intigam Aliyev, Azerbaijan
"This Program allowed me to relax, recover, meet new interesting people and organizations."
"Oslo is a free and peaceful city, people are caring and helpful. For me, Oslo is the face of a human rights-friendly city."