Delegation of the European Union to Timor-Leste

EU supports the establishment of a Human Rights department at the National University in Dili, Timor-Leste

24/01/2019 - 06:38
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The project “Development of human rights education and research activities at the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e” aims at contributing to the promotion of human rights, peace, democracy, development and conflict resolution, by strengthening knowledge, skills and networks at the local, national and international levels.

The new programme is funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Country Based Support Schemes (CBSS) with 425,684€ and is implemented by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) based in Venice, Italy. The academic and managerial support will be provided by the Global Campus of Human Rights, an EU-funded network of universities specialised on human rights post-graduate education worldwide.

“The overall objective of the project is improving the promotion and protection of human rights by establishing a Human Rights Centre within the Faculty of Social Sciences of UNTL. We plan to enable the Department to become an active participant in international academic networks represented by the Global Campus of Human Rights. The activities will target both human rights professionals and academics in Timor-Leste”, said Professor Manfred Novak, Secretary General of the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC). Prof. Nowak is author of more than 600 publications in the field of constitutional, administrative and international law, human rights as well as development studies.

“The UNTL will have more tools to develop its research capacity, will acquire more international recognition and deepen the culture of demand that is expected from the only Timorese public university”, said European Union Ambassador Alexandre Leitão.

The human rights situation in Timor Leste is facing several challenges. Many basic needs are not fulfilled: food security, electricity, clean water, health care etc. Some of the major human rights issues are access to justice, women’s rights and gender-based violence, land rights, children’s rights, etc. Available resources and capacity in the field of human rights education as an important foundation for addressing these challenges are very limited.

The first objective of the project is to train a new generation of individuals at the local level who can be employed in different human rights professions, which are increasingly important for the consolidation of the country’s democracy: experts working in government and dealing with human rights related legislation and policies, personnel employed by national human rights institutions, NGO and IGO officials, experts working within academic networks and in other civil society groups.