New program launched to foster deeper ties between Australian and Indonesian human rights advocates

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The Australian Human Rights Institute, Diplomacy Training Program and Institute for Global Development (UNSW) have announced the launch of a new short course ‘Human Rights Leadership to Influence Policy’ as part of the Australia Awards in Indonesia program, funded by the Australian Government. 

The course builds on the long histories of the Diplomacy Training Program and the Australian Human Rights Institute’s engagement with human rights movements and institutions in Indonesia, Australia and globally. 

The first-of-its-kind course aims to assist 25 experienced Indonesian human rights advocates – from national Human Rights Commissions to NGOs – in their work to promote and defend human rights in Indonesia. It will facilitate the exchange of experience and expertise between the participants in Indonesia and human rights leaders and organisations in Australia. Through building Indonesian-Australian relationships and collaborations on human rights, it is hoped that the course will strengthen the ability of individuals and organisations to effectively influence policy and practice. 

The inaugural session of the program was delivered on Monday, 22 September, with an inspiring opening keynote address by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG. The former Australian High Court Justice reflected upon the gradual nature of human rights change, recognising that human rights advocacy was often limited by societal and historical contexts. He shared his belief that even where such challenges exist, advocates could still have courage, work strategically, and endeavour to find spaces and allies to advance human rights. 

Over seven-weeks, the course will engage numerous distinguished human rights experts to engage with participants on diverse human rights themes. Week one included a guest lecture by UNSW Associate Professor of Law and executive director of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) Philip Chung, as well as a tripartite panel including Chris Sidoti (UN Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestine Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel), Patrick Walsh (Human Rights advocate and author) and Lucy Geddes (Public Interest Advocacy Centre).

“Our countries are very different, but we share some challenges in human rights including recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples, discrimination towards persons with disabilities, violence against women, and working with faith communities to uphold the rights of all,” said Patrick Earle, executive director of the Diplomacy Training Program.

“This collaborative course is all about learning from each other and our shared experiences to advance human rights in our region,” said Professor Justine Nolan, director of the Australian Human Rights Institute.

“We are delighted to see this new initiative arise to foster dialogue, collaboration and Australia-Indonesia linkages for human rights, and acknowledge the leadership of the Diplomacy Training Program, the Australian Human Rights Institute and the Australia Awards Indonesia program to make it possible,” said Kirsten Ridley, senior project officer at the Institute for Global Development.

The program is already shaping up to be a valuable experience for both the Indonesian and Australian participants.

For more information contact Dr Anna Nettheim, Program Coordinator.