28th Annual Program 2018 - Timor-Leste

28th Annual Regional Human Rights & Peoples Diplomacy Training Program

15 – 26 October 2018Timor-Leste

 

Summary Report

The Diplomacy Training Program’s (DTP) 28th Annual Human Rights and Peoples’ Diplomacy Training for Human Rights Defenders in the Asia-Pacific was held in Timor-Leste from October 15-26, 2018 in partnership with the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP). There was a special focus on the 70th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Twenty-three human rights defenders from working on a diverse range of human rights concerns including labour and trafficking, migrant workers, land grabbing, LGBTIQ, rape and torture, ‘disappearances”, rights of persons with disability, Indigenous peoples rights, peace-building and struggles for self-determination from twelve different countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, West Papua and Timor-Leste participated in this two-week program of intensive learning, sharing and skills building.

Trainers, presenters and facilitators in the program included – HE José Ramos Horta, Professor Virginia Dandan, Anjet Lanting, Bella Galhos, Juvinal Dias, Joshua Cooper, Arul Prakkash, Horacio de Almeida, Hugo Fernandez, staff from the Australian Embassy, Casimiro dos Santos and Patrick Earle.

The program began with a focus on international human rights standards, mechanisms and principles and the Sustainable Development Goals.Some of the specific issues the participants worked on were explored in sessions on the rights of women, human rights and business and Indigenous peoples rights. There was a strong focus on practical advocacy strategies and participants had the opportunity to apply program content in practical exercises including developing a short video, group role-plays and exercises to engage with the Human Rights Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review, and lobby meetings with diplomats from the Australian Embassy. Participants also had the opportunity to meet with local parliamentarians and diplomats at the reception organised by the New Zealand and Australian Embassy – where participants had opportunity to practice their lobbying skills again.

The participants were provided with opportunities to learn about the history of the Timorese struggle for self-determination and to share their own experience and expertise and build links. The program provided time and space for sharing information, strategies and resources, and for establishing networks for continued solidarity amongst the participants.

The program continued DTP’s historical relationship with Timor Leste and human rights, from its establishment by HE José Ramos Horta while in exile, during its struggle for self-determination and since, with many alumni in government and civil society.  Holding the program in Timor-Leste was a rich experience for participants, trainers and organisers. There is much to learn from Timor-Leste’s experience. HE José Ramos Horta provided a masterclass on advocacy for the participants and presided the closing ceremony.