(FamilyRetirementClub.com) – When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created the Commission on Unalienable Rights, it was seen as a good thing.
The commission’s task was to “provide the Intellectual grist of what I hope will be one of the most profound re-examinations of inalienable rights in the world since the 1948 Universal Declaration [on Human Rights at the United Nations],” he said.
Pompeo wanted the panel to offer “fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”
But apparently, a few organizations that call themselves “human rights” groups don’t believe in what Pompeo is doing. In fact, they filed a lawsuit against Pompeo and the U.S. State Department recently, accusing them of setting up the commission in violation of guidelines set forth by the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972.
Democracy Forward was the group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, the Council for Global Equality, the Global Justice Center, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity.
That law says membership in committees must be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented” with most of its meetings “open to the public.” The lawsuit alleges, though, that the commission is “stacked with members who have staked out positions hostile to LGBTQ and reproductive rights” and holds “closed door meetings to conduct significant Commission business outside of the public’s view and scrutiny.” It also claims the commissions fails “to provide adequate notice of meetings and to release key documents to the public.”
The State Department hasn’t issued any comments in response to the lawsuit that was filed last Friday. It would seem that the groups are worried that the commission may attack agendas that are supported by the LGBT community, as well as reproductive rights such as abortion. The commission wasn’t tasked with looking at those specific issues, though, only human rights as is “classically understood.”
Human Rights Watch is another group that has expressed some concern that the commission’s aim to identify “unalienable” rights is the Trump administration’s way of attempting to rewrite international law based on beliefs it holds. As Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the group, said:
“The U.S. government’s voice is needed on human rights, but it should be a voice that upholds the principled defense of all rights, not a pick-and-choose approach. Repressive governments frequently justify their human rights violations by claiming that some rights are more important than others. If the Trump administration adopts its own selective approach to human rights, it will only facilitate this classic excuse to evade the requirements of international human rights law.
“As long as the president embraces autocrats and dictators, expressing envy of their ability to silence or compromise the democratically essential checks and balances on their authority, the U.S. government will have little credibility on human rights.”