The UNSW-based Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) hopes its new status as a tax-deductible organisation will enable greater philanthropic support for its work to promote human rights.

Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen announced the decision to list the DTP as a deductible gift recipient (DGR), meaning donors can claim a tax deduction for gifts to the organisation.

The DTP is an independent non-government organisation (NGO) based within the Faculty of Law, which seeks to advance human rights and empower civil society in the Asia-Pacific region. It does this through quality education and training, and building skills and capacity in NGOs and for individual human rights defenders and community advocates.

Founded 20 years ago by Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate and current President of Timor-Leste, the DTP conducts regular training programs including an annual three-week flagship program hosted in Australia, Timor Leste, Thailand, the Philippines, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Nepal and New Zealand.

DTP director Patrick Earle said the tax deductibility status will make an enormous difference to the group's work.

"Very few organisations active on human rights have DGR status and we are hoping to expand the philanthropic support.

"The government's decision recognises the link between respect for human rights and efforts to end poverty and discrimination," Mr Earle said.

The timing of the decision is welcome, he said, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of DTP's establishment. In that time it has provided practical training to over 1,400 advocates.

The DTP's most recent course was run in Darwin/Batchelor on Indigenous rights, with participants from Australia, China, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines and Burma.

The program has also just launched a new initiative in partnership with the National University of Timor-Leste to build capacity on human rights in both government and civil society. The program takes place 10 years after the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 |