14th Annual Program 2004 - Thailand


Thailand, 2nd – 20th February 2004 


14th Annual Program Report

The Diplomacy Training Program’s 14th Annual Regional Human Rights Defenders Training Program took place in Bangkok from 2-20th February 2004.  For the first time in seven years His Excellency José Ramos-Horta, the Founder and Patron of the Diplomacy Training Program opened the 2004 event.   This year was also the first time His Excellency has attended the annual training program since becoming Foreign Minister of East Timor.  His presence and opening address was a particular inspiration to the participants, a very personal illustration of the change that advocates can bring about by working with others and of the growing influence of what he called global civil society.

The 2004 program brought together 24 participants from Fiji, Indonesia and West Papua, Burma, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, India, Indigenous Australia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Palestine, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Abkhazia.  As a result of the generosity of individual financial supporters in Australia, the Diplomacy Training Program was able to subsidise five of the participants through the program.  The Diplomacy Training Program assisted many of the others to raise the course fee from a wide range of NGOs and Foundations.

Many of the participants at the 14th Annual Training course face a disturbing range of human rights violations and challenges, including political killings, "disappearances", torture, poverty, caste and gender based violence and discrimination.  In often dangerous and difficult circumstances they monitor these human rights violations, whilst working with child labourers and street children, Dalit and indigenous communities, the rural poor, refugees in border camps and others to build peace in communities riven by conflict. The willingness of participants to share their experiences, perspectives and skills made a major contribution to the success of the 2004 training.  The participants generated an atmosphere of mutual respect and support over the three weeks and this atmosphere was commented on by a number of the trainers. 

This year the program sought to retain the key elements of previous annual training programs, at the same time as introducing important new content on emerging human rights challenges.  Anonymous participant evaluations of the trainers were overwhelmingly positive, as were the evaluations of the training schedule.  

The 2004 training program was conducted in partnership with the Asian Regional Resources Centre for Human Rights Education (ARRC), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia) and the Human Rights Office of Mahidol University, Thailand.  Mahidol was the new academic partner for the Diplomacy Training Program this year.  The partnerships reflect the Diplomacy Training Program’s commitment to working closely with others in the region, to drawing on the best available local and international expertise and experience and to ensuring that its training programs are culturally appropriate and reflect the experiences and challenges of the region.  

The Diplomacy Training Program wishes to express its appreciation and thanks to all who made this program possible including speakers, organisers and financial supporters.