Skip to main content

OHCHR in Timor-Leste


The Human Rights Adviser Unit’s works as part of the UN Country Team (UNCT) to support Timor-Leste to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Unit assists the UNCT to integrate human rights into programmes and activities; provides technical advice to national institutions and civil society; and conducts human rights capacity-building for a range of governmental, non-governmental actors and other partners.

Type of engagement Human Rights Adviser
Year established 2013 (but OHCHR present since 1999)
Field offices Dili
Number of staff 4
Annual budget needs US$ 653,000


  • To increase human rights respect and reduce reports of alleged excessive use of force and ill-treatment, targeted training programmes have been established for the police and the army since 2014. These are being implemented across Timor-Leste. Standard training manuals in Tetum were produced in a highly consultative process. The programmes are carried out under the leadership of the National Human Rights Institution and in close collaboration with the police and the army. The NHRI, police, Ministry of Defence and army officials were trained as human rights instructors, and they now serve as the programme’s key trainers.
  • The HRAU has initiated discussions in the UNCT to comprehensively identify groups excluded from development, with the aim of supporting Timor-Leste to achieve the key goal of ‘Leaving No-One Behind’ of the 2030 Development Agenda. Through systematic inclusion of persons with disabilities and LGBTI people in its programmes, meetings and events, officials, HRAU has supported UN staff and civil society members to have better knowledge of the challenges faced by these groups to exercise their rights equally. A growing number of partners is now working more closely with both groups, while the HRAU is part of a joint UN project working with national partners specifically focusing on reducing violence and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities.
  • HRAU has supported the establishment of an NGO Human Rights Defenders Network of 11 organizations, working on human rights, women’s rights, the rights of persons with disabilities and LGBTI people. The network conducts regular advocacy on key human rights issues.
  • Working with other development partners, the HRAU has built capacity of the NHRI and civil society on standards related to housing and evictions, resulting in monitoring and reporting on the impact of large-scale infrastructure of Timorese citizens.
  • Respect for diversity, human rights, gender and disability is integrated in lesson plans as part of the subject of social science in primary school. HRAU supported curriculum reform led by the Ministry of Education. Produced with NGOs, materials on the protection of children from violence are now used in pre- and primary school.

Partners and Donors

Partners: UN agencies, International organizations, the Ministry of Justice, the National Human Rights Institution (The Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice), the Judiciary, the National Police, the National Army, civil society, youth and the private sector.

Donors: Australia, the UN Development Group Human Rights Mainstreaming Mechanism, the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

UN Human Rights Focus Areas

Thematic pillars

  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Non discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
  • Participation: Enhancing & protecting civic space and people's participation


  • Prevention
  • Global constituency
  • Civic space
  • Inequalities
  • Corruption
  • Digital space & emerging technologies

Spotlight populations

  • Women
  • Young people
  • Persons with disabilities

Last reviewed: July 2020