New Government Commission Will Reevaluate Human Rights

Mike Pompeo recently announced a new government commission that will decide what constitutes a human right. Image via BBC.

Secretary of State Pompeo has a commission in the making that will reevaluate what “human rights” means, potentially harming marginalized groups such as LGBTQ people, according to The New Yorker.

On Monday after announcing the formation of the commission, named the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Pompeo explained that the group will be responsible for reviewing “the role of human rights in American foreign policy” to better distinguish what should be considered an unalienable right and what should be considered an “ad hoc,” or, in this context, necessary only at the given time, right. In many places around the world, it is recognized that certain human rights are more important but the US has gone in the opposite direction as advances towards LGBTQ and women’s equality have been made. Pompeo presumably did not like this and decided to create the Commission on Unalienable Rights. 

Pompeo also questioned whether or not the whole “all men are created equal” part of the Declaration of Independence, asking “how can there be human rights, rights we possess not as privileges we are granted or even earn but simply by virtue of our humanity, belong to us?” and “is it, in fact, true, as our Declaration of Independence asserts, that as human beings… are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights?” Uh… is he asking whether or not we should view everyone as equal or are some groups of people inherently inferior? I’m going with the latter because he selected Mary Ann Glendon, a former United States Ambassador to the Vatican and a person who has been vocal about her opposition to same-sex marriage. 

Glendon has said that same-sex marriage presents a danger to children because it shows that having two dads or two moms is an acceptable way to raise children. I can’t figure out how that can be a bad thing but that’s just me. Other members of the commission include Peter Berkowitz, who argues that human rights stem from Christianity, and Christopher Tollefsen who believes that embryos are human beings and is against contraceptives even if they’re used to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. So in this new commission, we have an anti-LGBTQ chair, a theocratic member, and a person who is against women’s rights and safe sex. I don’t know about you but I don’t want these people in charge of deciding who is and isn’t human and effectively granting rights to certain groups and denying rights from others. 

Always a cynic, I am not particularly surprised that such a group will exist but I am pretty angry that this group appears to be just another right-wing echo chamber that can have a profoundly negative effect on the rights of LGBTQ people and women. Not to be an alarmist or anything, but this is pretty scary as we can already see the deterioration of LGBTQ rights in this country by the Trump administration. 

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Source: The New Yorker

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