Inauguration Ceremony of the Human Rights Center at the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e
The Human Rights Center (HRC) at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the National University of Timor Leste (UNTL) will be inaugurated on 27 August 2019. The event is taking place in a highly symbolic year for the country, marking the 20th anniversary of its independence referendum (Popular Consultation).
The Global Campus of Human Rights (GC) is honoured that the inauguration of the HRC has been included into the official State agenda of the celebrations of this historic event.
The Inauguration will be graced by the participation of local and international notable figures, among them, the Nobel laureate Dr. Josè Ramos Horta who will deliver a keynote speech. The ribbon of the Center will be cut by UNTL Rector Prof. Miguel Martins and the Secretary General of the GC, Prof. Manfred Nowak.
The Human Rights Center will be set up as part of a 23-month project implemented by the Global Campus of Human Rights, titled "Development of Human Rights Education and Research at the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e". The project is funded by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) with its Delegation in Dili, headed by Ambassador Alexandre Leitao, and aims at contributing to the promotion of human rights, democracy and development in Timor-Leste. Setting up a brand-new Human Rights Center in a young democracy, still beset by numerous challenges, will be an opportunity for the GC to utilize its numerous years of operating in the intersection between academia and cooperation for development, particularly relying on its experience in the Global South.
The HRC in Dili will engage in training, international networking and research activities, and is envisaged to prospectively become affiliated with the Global Campus Asia-Pacific network led by the Mahidol University, Thailand. Furthermore, the Center will open its doors to Timorese civil society, providing space and expertise to grassroots organizations advocating for human rights, as well as regular extra-curricular activities such as debates and human rights movie screenings.
The true force of the capacity building project and the new HRC will be the 3 groups of participants – (1) emerging human rights defenders, (2) permanent UNTL professors and (3) talented young students of UNTL’s Faculty of Social Sciences – undertaking 3 customized structural “Studies and Training Programmes”, designed to help them hone their linguistic, academic and professional skills in the field of human rights. Under the coordination of the GC, the 3 groups will join forces in the second half of 2020 to co-organize a Human Rights Academy, where their freshly acquired skills and knowledge will be applied and tested. After the official handover of the HRC to the UNTL (envisioned for the end of 2020), they will remain affiliated with the HRC in various capacities, thus ensuring its future and wider dissemination of human rights values, education and practice.