Elisa da Silva


Role: Acting Timor-Leste Ambassador to Thailand and Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Active in Country: Thailand, Timor-Leste.

DTP program: 2005 Annual Human Rights and People’s Diplomacy Program, Timor-Leste


“At the Annual DTP program in 2005, I learnt about many different aspects of human rights including the role of the UN and international human rights law. The knowledge I gained at DTP has been important in my work as a diplomat and in my role in the United Nations. I continue to act on, and share that knowledge.”

Elisa da Silva is currently acting Ambassador at the Timor-Leste embassy in Bangkok. She is also a counsellor and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Elisa is also a civil servant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste. She had been posted at Timor-Leste diplomatic missions in Sydney and Canberra. Elisa was an active member of the Student Solidarity Group campaigning for independence for Timor-Leste – which succeeded in 1999.

In her role as a Timorese diplomat in Bangkok, Elisa meets and builds collaborative relationships with representatives of different governments and organisations. When appropriate opportunities arise, she is able to use her extensive knowledge in human rights to address issues at the highest levels through sharing programs and perspectives from Timor-Leste.

Elisa has worked with the Commander of Thailand’s human trafficking suppression division on a nationwide program to educate students about the dangers of human trafficking and youth prostitution. This included advice to students on how they can avoid possible dangers and protect themselves. 

In the 2019 ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum, Elisa was one of the panellists leading discussions on the challenges and solutions needed to address environmental degradation caused by rapid economic growth in the ASEAN region. The discussion focussed on best practices and sustainability being at the centre of decision making. Elisa and the other panellist discussed the need to establish ‘the Environment’ as a fourth pillar for ASEAN, in addition to the existing three pillars of the Political-Security Community; the Economic Community; and the Socio-Cultural Community.

Elisa is keenly interested in the rights of women and actively addresses issues, or progresses debate whenever possible. She was recently involved in FORUM-ASIA’s 2020 International Women’s Day event.

“The DTP program gave me the opportunity to meet, network and collaborate with people involved in human rights in different communities within the Asia-Pacific. Learning about the experiences of others in the region was inspiring and equipped me with knowledge that could be shared and applied within other communities and countries.”

In her role as representative of Timor-Leste at ESCAP, Elisa works with representatives from other member states and with other UN organisations to promote intergovernmental cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

Elisa collaborates on projects to help governments and institutions serve the rights of the people in the region. These include macro-economic policy and financing for development; environment and development; social development; ICT & disaster risk reduction; statistics; trade, investment and innovation; transport; and energy.

Together with the other ESCAP representatives, Elisa works towards achieving of the SDG’s goals and 2030 agenda as well asinstitutional change to ensure more efficient and effective delivery of essential services to serve the region’s growing population and the increasing demands for adequate food, clothing, housing, water, energy and transport infrastructure together with other basic needs.

ESCAP helps governments and institutions prepare for, participate in, and benefit from multilateral and regional trade, transport, information and communication technology, energy and environmental partnerships and agreements. It also helps member states build effective partnerships with civil society and the private sector.  


Profile written in July 2020.