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Call for Applications: 30th Annual Regional Human Rights & Peoples Diplomacy Training Program, August 2020, Timor-Leste

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The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) is calling for applications for its 30th Annual Human Rights and People’s Diplomacy Training Program for Human Rights Defenders from the Asia-Pacific Region and Indigenous Australia. The program is a partnership between leading civil society networks in the Pacific (PIANGO) and Asia (FORUM-ASIA), working with Timorese human rights NGO, JSMP.

This annual, comprehensive human rights and advocacy course is the longest established human rights training program held in the region. It builds knowledge of international human rights standards and the UN system and skills in strategic advocacy. There are intensive sessions on human rights and development, strategic advocacy and video advocacy, and media skills.

Civil society advocacy, peoples’ diplomacy, is vital in promoting and defending shared values of human dignity expressed in international human rights standards. Advocacy, engagement and solidarity are key drivers of accountability and better governance. This course will increase the capacity of civil society advocates to use human rights standards and to engage effectively with governments and others – locally, nationally and internationally, and to build solidarity networks.

The program will build practical links between advocates in the region. It will focus on contemporary human rights challenges including violence against women, SOGI, land-grabbing and forced displacements, freedom of religion and freedom of association, the rights of migrant workers and of Indigenous peoples, transitional justice, protecting human rights and human rights defenders in repressive and authoritarian environments and integrating human rights into the sustainable development goals and advocacy on climate change.

The course will be held in Timor-Leste, home of DTP’s Patron and Founder, the Nobel Peace Laureate, José Ramos-Horta. It is timed to coincide with the anniversary of Timor-Leste’s vote for independence in August 1999, and the honouring of international solidarity for human rights.

Holding this program in Timor-Leste strengthens the domestic movement for human rights and enables international participants to learn the lessons from Timor’s successful struggle for solidarity and self-determination, to seek justice and build reconciliation and peace.


  • Knowledge of international human rights law and principles, including civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights;
  • Understanding of the relationship between development, poverty and human rights, the human rights-based approach to development;
  • Practical skills in engaging the UN human rights accountability mechanisms and UN system;
  • Practical skills in strategic advocacy, lobbying, media, and ‘peoples’ diplomacy’.


The program is for human rights defenders working with NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region committed to developing and sharing their knowledge and skills in human rights advocacy.


Trainers are experienced and respected local, regional and international human rights practitioners, academics, and officials who understand and support DTP’s philosophy of participatory learning.


DTP recognises and values the experiences and skills that participants bring to its programs. The opportunity to share experiences and lessons with other participants and trainers is one of the real benefits and highlights of participating in the program. The training methodology is interactive with an emphasis on group work, role plays, case studies and discussion.


The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) is an independent NGO advancing human rights through quality education and training and the building of skills and networks of civil society. Founded in 1989 by Nobel Peace Laureate, José Ramos-Horta, it is affiliated with the Faculty of Law at UNSW Sydney. Since 1990 DTP has provided training to over 3000 community advocates and human rights defenders across the Asia-Pacific region.

FORUM-ASIA works to promote and protect human rights, including the right to development, through collaboration and cooperation among human rights organisations and defenders in Asia and beyond. FORUM-ASIA is committed to building a peaceful, just, equitable and ecologically sustainable community of peoples and societies in Asia, where all human rights of all individuals, groups and peoples – in particular, the poor, marginalised and discriminated – are fully respected and realised in accordance with internationally accepted human rights norms and standards.

Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) is the major regional network of NGOs in the Pacific with membership in 24 Countries and territories of the Pacific Islands. For over 25 years, PIANGO has served the Pacific through strengthening and building the capacity of the civil society sector.

The Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) is a Timorese NGO working to improve the judicial and legislative systems in Timor-Leste. JSMP’s mission is to advance and protect democracy, law, justice and human rights through court monitoring, legal education and advocacy.


Course fees are an important source of income for DTP. The course fee of USD $4000 covers tuition, accommodation, food, field trips and resource materials during the training. Travel expenses to and from the training are not included in this fee. DTP and its partners recognise that it will not be possible for all applicants to meet the course fee. Participants are encouraged to submit their application and, if successful, DTP will work with selected applicants to identify and apply to relevant funding bodies for financial assistance. Some scholarships will be available.


Application forms can be downloaded from the DTP website or can be requested from [email protected]. All applications will be acknowledged. For further information please contact DTP [email protected]