Sayeed Ahmad

Trainer on: Defenders’ advocacy, safety and security
DTP Programs: Annual Human Rights and Peoples' Diplomacy training programs

Sayeed Ahmad works as a regional protection coordinator for the South East Asia and the Pacific region at the international human rights organisation - Front Line Defenders. From Bangladesh, Sayeed has had a long, varied, meaningful and fulfilling international career in human rights.

Following his graduation in law, Sayeed joined one of the most influential human rights organisations in Bangladesh called Ain o Shalish Kendra (ASK). As a student he had been involved in socio-political activism and campus-based student movements, including publishing magazines and papers with his fellow student activists. Despite being a law graduate he was not interested in pursuing a career in law. 

“I kept thinking about what else I could do alternative to law practice where I could apply my legal knowledge and my passion for social activism. After graduation, I tried journalism for a few years before joining the Ain o Shalish Kendra."

It was while at ASK that Sayeed participated in his first DTP course – in Timor-Leste in 2006. From ASK, Sayeed was recruited to a regional human rights fellowship at FORUM-ASIA in Bangkok, DTP’s long term partner and key regional human rights organisation.

Sayeed was then invited by UNDP, along with a handful of other experts, to help the newly established Bangladesh national human rights commission. Then he moved to Thailand and worked with FORUM-ASIA for over three years.

He now plays a critical role in supporting other human rights defenders on the Front Line – sometimes assisting other DTP alumni at risk from threats, harassment, imprisonment or torture.
Sayeed participated in two DTP training programs, before becoming a DTP trainer – where he leads sessions related to defenders’ advocacy, safety and security. Sayeed, therefore, holds unique insights on DTP training as a trainer and a participant.

He thinks DTP stands out because DTP training offers spaces for advocates to sharpen their understanding and to rethink or reconsider their advocacy strategy. Sayeed says,

"DTP’s flexibility in changing curriculum and its applied and practical approach to training makes a real difference to the trainees. As the region is rapidly evolving, DTP too was flexible in offering training on diverse yet highly relevant issues such as migration, business and human rights. Many other organizations that provide human rights training do not have that flexibility."

In Sayeed’s opinion, the networking element is also very important:

“DTP provides invaluable experience of networking between the advocates. In human rights advocacy work, networking is key. Without strong networking between the advocates and organizations, the resistance to those who violate human rights would not go anywhere. Through this networking, DTP offers more than professional bonding. Here participants’ bonding is more personal  and sustainable.”

Sayeed values human rights advocacy because it aligns with his life philosophy, and is a way to give back to others:

“Many people apart from my family and the society have contributed in numerous ways into my life. As I grew up by taking from others, so I wanted to do something that will benefit others. I did not want to do something where I would remain completely silent against injustices and human rights violations. If I don’t do anything about injustices and rights violations, what is the point of human life? Where is the value in this life?"

Profile written May 2022