19th Annual Program 2009 - Timor-Leste

Timor Leste, 23rd November – 11th December 2009


19th Annual Program Report


“This program has changed everything for me. It has changed my perspective and now gives me the directions to go on like never before.”  

The Diplomacy Training Program’s 19th Annual Human Rights and Peoples’ Diplomacy Training Program for Human Rights Defenders from the Asia-Pacific Region and Indigenous Australia was held in Timor-Leste from 23rd November to December 11th, 2009 at the invitation of President José Ramos-Horta, the Diplomacy Training Program’s Founder and Patron.


This annual comprehensive human rights and advocacy training course is the longest established human rights capacity building program in the region. Participating in this course were 28 human rights defenders from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Australia, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste. The pressing human rights issues they work on include police violence, torture, disappearances and extra-judicial executions, the rights of migrant workers, the rights of Indigenous peoples to land, livelihood and culture, issues of poverty and discrimination, forcible evictions and displacement, the death penalty, issues of accountability and impunity of those responsible for human rights violations.


The course itself provided participants with a solid foundation of knowledge of the international human rights framework and the UN system, as well as build skills in human rights research and strategic advocacy, including the capacity to engage with governmental processes at the national and international level.


In addition participants learnt much from each other’s experiences and perspectives of seeking to defend and promote human rights, and of seeking positive change in their societies. Lasting bonds of friendship and solidarity were made over the period of the course, bonds that can play a practical role when individuals return to their own organisations and communities, long into the future.


The program was held in partnership with Forum Tau Matan (Eyes on Human Rights) and was made possible with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the New Zealand Agency for International Development and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. On the ground support was provided by the Office of the President, IOM and OHCHR. The Diplomacy Training Program expresses its gratitude and appreciation to Professor Virginia Dandan, Dr Sarah Pritchard, Dr Clarence Dias, Professor Paul Redmond, Sam Gregory, Philip Chung, Luiz Vieira, Abel Guterres, Pat Walsh, Angelina Sarmento, Fernando da Costa, Signe Poulsen, Johnny da Cunha, James McIntyre, and Peter Heyward. Thanks are also extended to Luiz Vieira (IOM), Louis Gentile (OHCHR) and their colleagues as well as Eduarda Martins Goncalves (FTM), Imelda Deinla (DTP Coordinator), and DTP volunteers Amy Rogers and Olivia Girard.