22nd Annual Program 2012 - Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste, November 26th – December 10th, 2012


22nd Annual Program Report


It is against this dynamic background that the Diplomacy Training Program’s flagship human rights education program, the 22nd Annual Regional Human Rights and People’s Diplomacy Training, took place in 2012. Held in Dili, Timor-Leste from 26 November – 10 December 2012, the Program, bringing together leading community activists from across the region, sought to harness and enhance opportunities for civil society engagement in and influence over these pressing human rights issues. This year, twenty-one participants from 10 different countries across the Asia-Pacific region completed the 17-day intensive training program. Civil society representatives from Timor-Leste, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, India’s state of Nagaland, Indonesia and West Papua attended the course. The Program was notable for the participation of DTP’s first ever human rights advocate from Samoa, and for the first female advocate from the Chittagong Hill Tract in Bangladesh. Importantly, the course also saw a significant representation from Pacific Island countries, and from the host nation of Timor-Leste.

The advocacy work of the Program’s participants encapsulates many of the critical issues facing the Asia-Pacific region at this moment: working towards a human rights-respecting national constitution in Fiji, finding human rights-based and sustainable solutions to poverty in Timor-Leste, combating enforced disappearances, addressing entrenched patterns of violence against women, and securing the civil and political rights of Indigenous peoples in West Papua. The Program provided an important collective forum for participants to come together and forge new avenues of collaboration in mobilising around these and other issues. The rich experience and wisdom of these human rights defenders infused the group’s learning during the Program.

The Program provided participants with a comprehensive and practical knowledge of international human rights standards and mechanisms and strategies to engage these mechanisms to strengthen their human rights advocacy practices. To this end, participants were provided with opportunities to develop skills in strategic advocacy, campaigning and lobbying, and the use of video as an advocacy tool. DTP’s experienced trainers, leading practitioners and academics in the human rights field nationally and internationally, guided participants to practically apply the concepts, principles, strategies and mechanisms to their own communities and issues.

The combined dedication, focus, and energy of participants and trainers contributed to a highly successful training program, acknowledged by participants, trainers, and the DTP Secretariat alike. This sense of collective achievement in the strengthening of participants’ knowledge, skills and networks is clearly reflected in the particpants’ evaluation of the Program. These evaluations are drawn from in this report, which also offers a descriptive overview of the Program and its key learning outcomes, and key recommendations for the future.

The 22nd Annual Program was organised in partnership with the Office of the Former President of Timor-Leste, H.E. Jose Ramos Horta, DTP’s Founder and Patron. The program was made possible through the generous financial and in-kind assistance of the Office of the Former President, as well as through the financial contributions of the Scully Fund, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Mr. Phillip Keir. DTP thanks these organisations and individuals for their role in enabling the 22nd Annual Program. This report was prepared by DTP Project Coordinator, Kylie Marks.