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United States: New Commission Must Recognize Minority Rights
In response to the formation of the US Department of State’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We are glad that the Trump administration is taking a harder look at defending human rights. It will be critical for the Commission on Unalienable Rights to ensure that the framework guiding the administration’s engagement on human rights encompasses rights for all, including minority groups,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.
“The administration’s emphasis on the distinction between ‘unalienable rights’ and ‘ad hoc rights’ in announcing the creation of this commission—combined with a seemingly permissive stance on a variety of human rights abuses around the world—is concerning. The United States cannot effectively promote individual liberty, human equality, or democracy by narrowing the definition of human rights to exclude broad categories of rights or people. The commission should also urge US leadership on human rights and democracy issues, making the raising of human rights concerns a routine part of US foreign policy for every country, including allies and security partners.”
“Finally it is important to ensure that the rest of the commission’s open seats are filled with voices from diverse viewpoints, and that in its work the commission consults with a wide range of experts whose knowledge spans the full spectrum of human rights.”
On July 8, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the formation of the Department of State’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, which would provide him with “advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” He said the commission would contribute to “an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.