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Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, E/CN.4/2006/95, January 23, 2006

29. To effectively fulfil her mandate, the Special Representative adopted a broad definition of human rights defenders based on activities rather than status. In doing so, she was guided by the broad categorization of the fourth preambular paragraph of the Declaration, in accordance to which human rights defenders can be any person or group of persons working to promote human rights. As such, what characterizes a human rights defender is not his/her professional background, status or skills but the human rights basis of the activities undertaken. Accordingly, the Special Representative has included in the scope of her mandate NGO members, lawyers, trade unionists, journalists, student activists, witnesses of human rights violations, certain civil servants, members of NHRIs, leaders of indigenous communities and social movements, environmental activists, lesbians, gays, transsexual and bisexual rights activists, health professionals, humanitarian workers and staff of the United Nations. Peaceful advocates of democratic or minority rights also fall within the ambit of the mandate. The list cannot be exhaustive.

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