Successfully Completed in Timor-Leste the first Summer School of the UNTL Human Rights Centre
The Human Rights Centre of the National University of Timor-Leste (HRC-UNTL) organised last week its first Summer School, taking place from 11 to 15 July as a residential activity taking place in Dare, on the outskirts of the capital Dili.
Under the title “Our Human Rights, Our Future! Defending Most Vulnerable People and the Next Generations”, the summer school aimed at bridging academic knowledge with the hands-on experience of practitioners and activists. It provided an introductory understanding of what human rights are, focusing on the rights of specific categories at risk (such as children, women and disabled people), on the environment, as well as on how to organise an advocacy campaign, while exploring case studies from other countries of the Southeast Asian region.
During the 6 days of the School, a pool of 9 teachers, comprising the best UNTL lecturers and local human rights experts trained by the Global Campus in 2019-20, delivered 5 thematic classes, lead 2 events in partnership with the French Cooperation Office in Timor-Leste, and with the local Human Rights Defenders Network (RDDU). Moreover, they prepared and accompanied the participants on a field trip in the eastern municipality of Hera, to focus on environmental rights by visiting one of the largest conservation projects in the country.
This new academic activity has been designed for university graduates coming from all over Timor-Leste, with representation from each of the country’s districts, so to make human rights education available even to young activists and early professionals who are not based in the capital city. Importantly, the summer school is the first training activity of the Centre which is not limited to UNTL beneficiaries, hence the 25 participants were selected also among the graduates of the other universities of the country.
The opening and closing ceremonies saw the participation on the National University leadership, representatives of the Global Campus and of the Delegation of the European Union. Finally, the programme also includes the keynote speech “The Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders” by Noemí Pérez Vásquez, author of “Women's Access to Transitional Justice in Timor-Leste: The Blind Letters”.
The Summer School “Our Rights, Our Future!” is another important step forward in the capacity building work done by the Global Campus and the Global Campus Asia-Pacific to develop human rights education and research at the National University of Timor-Leste, supported by the European Union through its Delegation in Dili.