Statement on Commission on Unalienable Rights

07.12.19–On Monday, July 8, Secretary Pompeo announced the creation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights, chaired by Professor Mary Ann Glendon. He promised that the commission would undertake “a review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”

This Commission is merely the State Department’s attempt to narrowly redefine the human rights of women and girls, young people, and LGBTQ people under so-called religious liberty.

The Commission’s stated purpose is harmful to the global effort to protect the rights of all people and is a waste of resources. The Commission’s make-up clearly lacks ideological diversity and appears to reflect a clear interest in limiting human rights. And the process by which the Commission came into being, and is being administered, has sidelined human rights experts in the State Department’s own Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

“It comes as no surprise that  the same administration who has attempted to erase all references to sexual and reproductive health and rights from the global discourse and deleted reporting on reproductive rights from its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices also created this Commission to address unalienable rights,” said Preston Mitchum, Senior Legal and International Policy Analyst.

“There is no need to create or clarify fundamental rights. Young people know reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights, for example, are constitutionally protected rights. It is beyond shameful that the Trump-Pence administration is once again using taxpayer dollars as a subterfuge for discriminating against marginalized communities. The Commission therefore must be disbanded.”