The Diplomacy Training Program – Making a Difference for Human Rights

The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) is an independent, Australian NGO committed to advancing human rights and empowering civil society in the Asia Pacific region through quality education and training, and the building of skills and capacity in non-governmental organisations and for individual human rights defenders and community advocates.

The DTP was founded in 1989 by HE José Ramos-Horta, 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Timor-Leste with Emeritus Professor Garth Nettheim.

Since January 1990, the DTP has provided practical human rights training to over 2800 human rights defenders and community advocates in the Asia-Pacific Region.

It's practical, participatory courses develop the knowledge, networks and skills for human rights defenders in Australia, Asia and the Pacific to help them be more effective in making a difference for human rights. See Stories of Change - from DTP's alumni

Background to DTP (Made in 1992)


Event Updates:

Business and Human Rights: Challenges and Opportunities (5 Dec 2017)

We were privileged to hear from a business and human rights expert and Chair of the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights, Surya Deva. Surya spoke about the importance of corporations as a key player in promoting human rights, whilst realising challenges still exist. He conveyed the need of mandatory due diligence; supply chain governance; access to remedies; and a global network of pro bono lawyers that can help affected communities - tool which can influence businesses to respect and realise human rights.

We would also like to thank Corrs Chambers Westgarth for kindly hosting the event and Australian Human Rights Institute for the joint collaboration.


DTP and UNSW’s Grand Challenge on Inequality (21 Aug 2017) 

DTP was pleased to welcome back US Human Rights and Environmental Activist and Academic, Professor Joshua Cooper on Monday 21 August 2017, to reflect on the “The Sustainable Development Goals: Challenging Inequality in Australia”.

Academics, members of DTP and UNSW staff and students were invited to attend an interactive discussion that involved Joshua explaining the diplomacy of Human Rights in Australia and globally and how Human Rights combined with advocacy promote the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’.

Joshua spoke on the growing agenda of Human Rights (HR) nationwide as Australia is preparing to present its first Voluntary National Review at the 2018 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) stimulated by the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ with the intention of facilitating the implementation of projects proposed to promote the SDGs. It is essential for national bodies to consult with the civil society prior to and after the HLPF for better adoption of the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and SDG goal ‘Leaving no-one behind’.

Joshua further disclosed the nature of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as three cycles of review. There are multiple phases of the UPR including: preparation, action, consideration, adoption and implementation which educate, engage, and empower individuals and global governmental bodies to connect with issues of inequality in Australia. 



Discussion about Human Rights in Malaysia with Executive Director of (SUARAM), Sevan Doraisamy (13 June 2017)

The DTP was delighted to welcome Sevan Doraisamy, the Executive Director of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM). Members and friends of the DTP, UNSW staff and students, and other organisations (Australian Pro Bono Centre and Amnesty International Australia) attended an engaging discussion about human rights in Malaysia.

Sevan gave a thorough insight into the issue of Detention without Trial in Malaysia, discussing the impact of national security legalisation. An open floor discussion raised concerns of Malaysia’s security and terrorism laws towards its citizens and human right defenders. Sevan emphasised that Freedom of Expression and Economic, Social and Cultural rights were the two main laws that currently affect human right defenders in Malaysia.

Sevan also made a guest appearance on the ABC Radio National Breakfast Show on Thursday 15 June 2017. The talk discussed the concern of enforced disappearances in Malaysia, shedding light on the recent abductions of four people. Sevan predicted that an increasing number of groups in Malaysia are openly expressing religious intolerance. He indicated the importance of government authorities and the police to take responsibility for the recent abductions.


Training Programs Updates:

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Location: UNSW Sydney

Date: Nov 09th – Nov 10th, 2017

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) program was held on November 9 & 10 at UNSW Sydney. It was delivered with the Diplomacy Training Program, NCYLC (Matthew Keeley) and the former AHRCentre (Noam Peleg) [all based at UNSW Law]. The 2-day intensive training program helped build participants’ knowledge and understanding of the Convention and of the Australian reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Committee).

The CRC reporting process is an important, but little understood, opportunity for officials at all levels of government to review policy and practice relating to children against Australia’s obligations under the CRC, to share perspectives with the community sector.

Participants came from NSW, Qld, Tas and SA – from CSOs, government and statutory bodies. Representatives Attorney General’s presented on the process of preparing the government’s report to CRC (just released) – and engagement with the CRC periodic reporting process.

See Concept NoteBrochureSchedule

Pacific Islands Civil Society Consultation on Migration Governance and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration


Location: Nadi, Fiji

Date: Nov 2nd – Nov 3rd, 2017

The Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO)the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF)Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC), and the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP), organised and facilitated a two-day workshop to enable civil society in the Pacific to provide inputs and recommendations to the preparatory process of the UN Global Compact on Migration (GCM).  The consultation brought together representatives from NGOs, trade unions, faith-based groups, and others to consider the key issues related to migration in and from the Pacific Islands and the human rights and governance issues raised by this migration.  


The workshop provided an opportunity for civil society in the Pacific Islands to reflect on particular concerns and issues relating to migration, development and climate change; develop their understanding of the GCM of what it might mean for migration governance develop inputs to feed into the consultations and processes of developing the GCM consider future networking and collaboration in the Pacific on migration and the rights of migrants.

The workshop took place in the week leading up to the official regional consultation taking place in Bangkok (UNESCAP) between governments in the Asia-Pacific.  The UN Global Compact on Safe Migration will be adopted by the UN in November 2018 following thematic and regional consultations with governments and stakeholders.   

See Brochure

See Media Release


27th Annual Program 

Location: Dili & Maubara, Timor-Leste

Date: Oct 2nd - Oct 13th, 2017

The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) held its 27th Annual Human Rights and People’s Diplomacy Training Program for Human Rights Defenders from Oct 2-13, 2017. The program was held in partnership with Judicial System Monitoring Programme.

The program had 24 participants from over 9 countries that participated in this training. We were warmly welcomed by DTP’s Patron and Founder, the Nobel Peace Laureate and former President, José Ramos-Horta & Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste H.E Peter Doyle. 

Photo: Participants from 2017 DTP's 27th Annual Program - Timor-Leste with DTP's Founder José Ramos-Horta, Former President of Timor-Leste, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Photo: Lucille Abeykoon (Left) - DTP's 27th Annual Participant from Sri Lanka with Australian Ambassador H.E Peter Doyle (Right)

The program helped build practical links between advocates in the region facing shared challenges. These challenges include violence against women, land-grabbing and forced displacements, freedom of religion and freedom of association, the rights of migrant workers and of Indigenous peoples, transitional justice, protecting human rights in repressive and authoritarian environments and integrating human rights into sustainable development policy and practice. 

The participants were fortunate to learn from experienced trainers from the UN and WITNESS, and had the opportunity to do a lobbying and campaigning exercises with Australian Embassy staff based in Timor-Leste. The participants also delve into the history and lessons of Timor-Leste as they spoke to the victims’ families of the Liquicia massacre and field visits to Centro Nacional Chega and Resistance Museum.


Photo: Participants from 2017 DTP's 27th Annual Program - Timor-Leste with Australian Embassy Staff in Timor-Leste





Advocating for the Rights of Migrant Workers in Malaysia (5 Modules)


The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) in partnership with Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Bar Council Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Affairs Committee (MRIAC), North South Initiative (NSI), and Migration Working Group (MWG) are holding a special capacity building program for Malaysian civil society on the rights of migrant workers. 


The program will be designed with program participants to build knowledge, skills and networks to enhance and support civil society advocacy for the promotion and protection of migrant workers’ rights in Malaysia.


The program will bring together Malaysian advocates with advocates from countries of origin, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Cambodia to build links and networks and to develop shared advocacy strategies for greater impact in Malaysia and countries of origin.


DTP has just completed the 3rd module of its capacity building program in Malaysia on the rights of migrant workers.   The module focused on the private sector and human rights - and the challenges of ending abuses in the recruitment, manufacturing, construction and forestry/palm oil sectors – as well as abuses experienced by migrant domestic workers, mostly women.

Sessions were led by Professor Surya Deva, Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, DTP alumnus and SUHAKAM Commissioner, Jerald Joseph and Marie Apostol, of FairHire Initiative as well as representatives from business and from the RSPO.  Working together with participants, there was a great sense that change is possible.  

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Module 3: Aug 18th – Aug 21st 2017

See Module 3 Schedule

See Program News



Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Module 2: June 2nd – June 5th 2017

See Module 2 ScheduleModule 2 Participants' Biographies 

See Module 2 Program Summary, Draft Program Report


Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Module 1: March 31st – April 3rd 2017

See Module 1 ScheduleModule 1 Participants' Biographies 

See Module 1 Program Summary, written by Malaysian Bar Council




Sharan Burrow (pictured above), ITUC General Secretary spoke with participants in the DTP/MFA course on the rights of migrant workers in Malaysia (Module 1) - organised with Malaysia Bar Council, North-South Institute and Migration Working Group.  For more information, click on this link.



Leaving No One Behind (Regional Program)

Location: Chiang Mai

Program Dates: June 21st – June 25th 2017


To mark the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP], DTP and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) delivered a capacity building program on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Thailand.

On the 25th of September 2015, the 193 member countries of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda – a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.   The commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ and ‘reach the furthest behind first’ are particularly relevant to Indigenous peoples. The SDGs commit national governments,

….  to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.  

This special program celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and helped build the capacity of Indigenous peoples’ organisations and their representatives to use UNDRIP as they engage with governments and the private sector in SDGs planning and programming.

See Schedule, Participants' Biographies, Program Report 

Joan Carling (pictured above), co-convenor of the Global Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), teaching on the DTP program 'The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' held in partnership with AIPP in Chiang Mai. 


Raja Devasish Roy (pictured above), Member of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Chief of Chakma Circle


Human Rights Advocacy and Migrant Workers in the Middle East

Location: Doha, Qatar

Program Dates: May 21st - May 25th 2017


The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) and Migrant Forum Asia (MFA) held a regional training course on human rights advocacy and migrant workers in the Middle East. This training program took place over 5 days in Qatar from 21st – 25th May 2017, hosted by Georgetown University Qatar (GUQ).


The training program helped build the knowledge and skills to protect and promote the human rights of migrant workers.  It enabled participants to more effectively use internationally agreed standards and mechanisms in their advocacy for the human rights of migrant workers in the Middle East.  The residential program also provided a valuable forum for the sharing of knowledge and skills, and for the building of support networks and collaboration between countries of origin and destination.

See Schedule, Participants' BiographiesDraft Program Report



Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, The Private Sector and Development 


Location: Sabah, Malaysia

Program Dates: February 27th – March 8th 2017


DTP and JOAS collaborated with OHCR Regional Office and OHCHR Civil Society Unit on delivering a regional capacity building program on Human Rights, Indigenous peoples, the Private Sector and Development.   Twenty-four participants, mainly from Indigenous communities in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh have travelled to Sabah in Malaysia to learn, share knowledge and experience.   Sabah has witnessed the dramatic impacts of deforestation, dams and plantations. The participants have been learning about relevant human rights standards, and UN human rights monitoring and accountability mechanisms that can be used to protect and promote human rights in the context of rapid economic development.   The intersection of the environment and human rights, the preservation of Indigenous languages and traditional knowledge, the diminishing space for civil society and militarization have been among the issues raised. The program is funded with support from Oxfam Australia and the Australian government and DTP’s individual supporters.


See ScheduleParticipants' Biographies, Program Report