21st Annual Program 2011 - Timor-Leste


Timor-Leste, September 5th - 23rd, 2011

21st Annual Program Report


The Diplomacy Training Program’s 21st 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 September 5th – September 23rd  at the invitation of the Diplomacy Training Program’s Founder and Patron, President José Ramos-Horta.


This annual comprehensive human rights and advocacy training course is the longest established human rights capacity building program taking place in the region.  Participating in this three-week course were twenty-five human rights defenders from 12 countries in the Asia Pacific – Australia, Myanmar, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Philippines, and Timor Leste. This is the 5th time the program has been held in Timor-Leste.


Most participants work with NGOs protecting and promoting a range of human rights concerns and issues.  These include the promotion of democracy and human rights in Burma, ending the death penalty and protecting freedom of speech in Thailand, ending female infanticide in Southern India, challenging political violence in Pakistan, protecting human rights defenders in West Papua, protecting migrant workers and refugee rights in Malaysia, and poverty in the Philippines. The Timorese participants work across a range of issues including human rights monitoring, policing, the rule of law, transitional justice and development issues.


This was an intensive course held over three weeks, in three different locations in Timor Leste.  The course provided participants with a solid foundation of knowledge of international human rights standards and the UN system, as well as building skills in human rights monitoring and strategic advocacy.  Participants were encouraged to share their knowledge and experience, and to use this opportunity to build their networks of support. Participants also had the opportunity to learn from Timor Leste’s struggle for self-determination, the role of human rights defenders, and current issues of transitional justice and accountability. 


The course was positively evaluated by participants at the end of the program.  This program report draws from those evaluations – and includes some quotes from them.  It provides a background to the program and an overview of the program content.


The program was made possible by the support provided from the Office of the President of Timor Leste, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Mission in Timor (UNMIT). It was also made possible through the generous pro-bono contribution of many trainers on the course including Dr Sarah Pritchard, Professor Andrew Byrnes, Professor Paul Redmond, Angelina Sarmento, Aderito Soares, Joshua Cooper and Louis Gentile. The generosity and kindness of Timorese hosts and friends made this a memorable program for all involved.  The course was coordinated by Dr Imelda Deinla, with support from Sarah Torcasio and DTP volunteers Alma Mir and Amy Rogers. Valuable in-country support was provided by Laurenco Lein (Amir), Joao Pequinho and Lillian Dang.  DTP would like to offer particular thanks to Hernani Coelho and his colleagues in Office of the President for all of their support.