For Asian Human Rights Defenders

For Asian Human Rights Defenders


11 - 17 July 2010, Bangkok, Thailand


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) would like to announce the opening of the application process for the 3rd UN Advocacy Training Session for Asian Human Rights Defenders (UNATS) which will take place in Bangkok from 11 - 17 July 2010.

The UNATS is a specialised capacity-building programme geared toward Asian human rights defenders wishing to build on their understanding of UN human rights protection mechanisms and effective advocacy capacity in national, regional or international human rights work.


The involvement of Asian human rights NGOs and defenders in the development and use of the UN human rights system has historically contributed to the affirmation of the universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights. Moreover, many human rights NGOs have used the UN human rights system as both a protection and an advocacy platform.

Thus, the current need for this regional training session specifically on UN advocacy is dictated by the following factors:

  • the continuing impact of substantive UN human rights policy and UN reform developments on the activities of Asian human rights NGOs
  • the uneven and often limited levels of use, by Asian human rights NGOs, of the various opportunities provided by the UN human rights protection system, in the absence of an Asian regional human rights mechanism and effective national human rights institutions
  • the increasing strategic potential of international advocacy in the UN, as leverage for in-country and inter-country protection and promotion of human rights, and for the advocacy of regional NGO positions toward Asian states

The overall goal of the 3rd UN Advocacy Training Session for Asian Human Rights Defenders (UNATS) is to increase the impact and effectiveness of Asian human rights NGOs’ advocacy and lobby at the UN human rights bodies, in order to make Asian governments more accountable to their international human rights obligations.

Therefore, the 3rd UNATS aims to provide the participants the following:

  • sufficient background knowledge of international human rights norms, standards, and their implications for national human rights movement
  • understanding of the emerging norms and standards in human rights, as well as trends and emerging challenges impacting the region
  • thorough comprehension of the various UN human rights protection mechanisms available
  • necessary skills on the use of opportunities for civil society engagement within the UN system

In light of the above, at the end of the weeklong training, participants are expected to have attained the following specific learning objectives:

  • enhanced knowledge of the UN human rights system and how it impacts the work of human rights NGOs and defenders in the region
  • thoroughly “de-mystified” understanding of the UN human rights system and processes, covering both the charter-based system (with emphasis on the Human Rights Council) and the treaty-based system, and how to use these procedures and platforms appropriately and effectively at the national level
  • improved strategic thinking and planning on how international advocacy in the UN can support NGO advocacy for protection and promotion of human rights at the national and regional level
  • acquisition and enhancement of skills and expertise in the use of the UN human rights system, including international advocacy mapping and planning as well as lobby strategy and tactics
  • development of preliminary ideas for further improvement of the international advocacy work of the respective national human rights NGOs, including through collaboration with FORUM-ASIA at the regional level
  • further building of cooperation and solidarity among Asian human rights NGOs in the implementation of international advocacy and the development of a common basis for regional UN advocacy work between FORUM-ASIA, its members and partners


The main components of the 3rd UNATS are the following:

  1. History of human rights theories and practices
  2. Background on international human rights norms and instruments
  3. Key regional and international human rights issues
  4. Emerging trends and challenges at the UN which affect the region
  5. UN human rights protection mechanisms (specifically the Human Rights Council, Special Procedures, Universal Periodic Review and Treaty Bodies)
  6. Role and opportunities of civil society for engagement with UN mechanisms


Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Day 6
Int’l Advocacy
Concepts / UN Charter-Based System / UN Human Rights Council
(Country Approaches) / UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies / Role-Play
UN Human Rights Council
(Thematic Approaches)
Introduction to UNATS / UN and Its HR System / Field Trip to
UN ESCAP / Mapping for Action Plans
UN Treaty-Based System / Synthesis and Wrap-Up

The Training Session will be held at the St. Gabriel Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand. The participants will be accommodated at the same venue.


Total cost of the 3rd UNATS for one week excluding international travel expenses is 800 USD (eight hundred US dollars). The fee covers full board and lodging (300 USD), resource persons (200 USD), course materials (100 USD), and local organising expenses such as social activities, field exposure, insurance, etc. (200 USD).

The participants are expected to raise their own funds to attend the training. A financial subsidy may be available for those who are not able to raise funds to cover their own expenses. Those who wish to apply for a financial subsidy should indicate their request in the application form.


The application is open to any human rights activist interested in and working on human rights issues in Asia. Below are some required qualifications:

  • Strong interest and commitment to the cause of human rights in Asia
  • Minimum 3 years work experience in local, national or regional human rights NGOs or human rights-related organisations
  • Preferably staff of member or partner organisation of FORUM-ASIA
  • Ability to communicate in English (both spoken and written)

Candidates are required to fill out the Application Form and the Questionnaire attached to the Brochure and to submit them with only one of the following documents.

  1. If candidates are from FORUM-ASIA member organisations, please submit a letter of endorsement from the head of the organisation.
  2. If candidates are NOT from FORUM-ASIA member organisations, please submit a letter of recommendation from any of FORUM-ASIA’s 46 member organisations in one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Burma/Thailand, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste.
  3. If candidates are from other countries, please submit a letter of recommendation from a reference person.

The application form, questionnaire and other related documents such as a list of FORUM-ASIA member organisations, and a template of endorsement letter and recommendation letter can be downloaded from .

Completed applications must be sent by email to FORUM-ASIA at .

Closing date for application submission is May 31st (Monday), 2010.

  • Received applications will be acknowledged by email. Incomplete applications may result in a low possibility of acceptance.
  • FORUM-ASIA’s Selection Committee consider geographic and gender balance when selecting candidates.
  • Applicants short-listed for skype interviews will be interviewed on 7-9 June 2010.
  • Applicants will be informed of their final selection by email before 15 June 2010.


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a membership-based regional human rights organisation committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights including the right to development.

As a regional forum with 46 member organizations in across Asia, FORUM-ASIA seeks to facilitate dialogue, capacity building, and networking, among human rights defenders, civil society actors and organisations in Asia. FORUM-ASIA, as an NGO in Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), also promotes cooperation with governments, inter-governmental organisations and the UN for the betterment of people's lives and the full respect of human rights and human dignity.

FORUM-ASIA was founded in 1991 in Manila and its regional office has been located in Bangkok since 1994. In 2008, FORUM-ASIA opened its international office in Geneva, in order to strengthen its efforts for international advocacy at the UN level.


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM–ASIA)

Regional Office: 246 Times Square Building, 12th Floor, Room 12-01, Sukhumvit Road, Between Soi 12-14, Khlong Toei, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Tel: +66-(0)2-653-2940 to 1 / Fax: +66-(0)2-653-2942 / Email:

International Office: Rue de Varembe 1, 2nd Floor, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Tel: +41-(0)22-740-2947 / Fax: +41-(0)22-740-2948 / Email:

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