65 U. Miami L. Rev. 981 (2010-2011)
Who is a Human Rights Defender - An Essay on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Defenders

handle is hein.journals/umialr65 and id is 987 raw text is: Who Is a Human Rights Defender? An Essay
on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Defenders
CYNTHIA SooHoo* & DIANA HORTSCH**
I. INTRODUCTION
In her 2011 report to the United Nations Human Rights Council,'
Margaret Sekaggya, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human
Rights Defenders,2 calls attention to the work of sexual and reproductive
rights defenders. This group includes a number of individuals who might
not initially be recognized as falling under the umbrella of human
rights defenders-LGBT activists; reproductive healthcare workers
who provide access to contraception and abortion; and those providing
access to HIV information, prevention services, and treatment, among
others.
The recognition of sexual and reproductive rights defenders as
human rights defenders is an important and timely step in ensuring that
women (and men) have access to the sexual and reproductive health ser-
* Director of the U.S. Legal Program, Center for Reproductive Rights.
** Director of the Law School Initiative, Center for Reproductive Rights.
The authors would like to thank Center staff whose work has closely informed this essay,
including Karen Leiter, Michelle Movahed, and Bonnie Scott Jones. Nicole Tuszynski provided
excellent research assistance. Special thanks goes to Katrina Anderson, formerly of the Center and
now at U.N. Women, for her work recognizing sexual and reproductive rights defenders as human
rights defenders in a 2009 briefing paper, which is used and cited in this essay. Juliana Cano Nieto
and Angela Heimburger from Human Rights Watch and Valdria Pandjiarjian from CLADEM also
contributed significantly to the 2009 briefing paper. See KATRINA ANDERSON ET AL., CTR. FOR
REPROD. RIGHTS, A COMMUNICATION TO THE U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS REGARDING THE RISKS
AND VULNERABILITIES FACING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS IN THE UNITED STATES
(2009), http://reproductiverights.org/sites/crr.civicactions.net/files/documents/CRRCommunica
tion%20_01-27-09 0.pdf.
1. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Report of the Special
Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Human Rights Council, U.N. Doc. A/
HRC/16/44 (Dec. 20, 2010) (by Margaret Sekaggya) [hereinafter 2011 Report of the Special
Rapporteur Sekaggya].
2. Between 2000 and 2008, Hina Jilani served as the Special Representative of the U.N.
Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. Her mandate was renewed once
by the Commission on Human Rights in 2003 and again by the Human Rights Council in 2007. In
March 2008, the Human Rights Council continued the mandate for another three years and
appointed Margaret Sekaggya the new Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights
Defenders. See Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, OFFICE OF THE
U.N. HIGH COMM'R FOR Hum. RTS., http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/index.htm
(last visited Apr. 8, 2011). For the purposes of this essay, Jilani will be referred to as Special
Representative Jilani and Sekaggya will be referred to as Special Rapporteur Sekaggya.
3. LGBT is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

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