Pompeo’s announcement caused numerous concerns that this Commission on Unalienable Rights would dissolve women’s rights or the ones of the sensitive groups like the LGBTQ population and minorities.
In his statement, Pompeo asked what human rights truly represent, and expressed his concerns that someone might falsely claim something as their human right and demand it to be honored, despite the fact it is non-existent.
According to Mike Pompeo, the word “right” may be used for both good and evil purposes.
He promised that the commission was going to conduct one of the most thorough revisions of the definition of guaranteed human rights since the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights from 1947.
The secretary expressed his fears that the human rights definition became blurry leaving the space for numerous misinterpretations used for justifying “gross violations,” and that America was going to be a watchful guardian of human rights that will prevent them from getting corrupted or misused.
Opposition Fears That the Commission Will Curb Human Rights
The Democratic opposition doubts the honest intentions of the commission. Many like Robert Menendez, a senator from New Jersey, fears that this commission was formed to curb some human rights.
He backed up his argument with the fact that the administration didn’t involve the State Department bureau in charge of human rights into the process of choosing members of the Unalienable Rights Commission. Instead, they packed it with people who have restrictive attitudes towards the LGBTQ population and fervently oppose abortion, like a Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon.
People who expressed doubts also focused on the lousy record, when human rights are in question, taking the president’s reaction to the monstrous murder of Saudi Arabia’s journalist Khashoggi who lived in America. They also added Trump’s inclination toward dictators like Kim Jong Un, who was squashing basic human rights in his country.
They additionally pointed to the administration eager to push the legislation that will limit people’s reproductive rights and ban abortion as a choice.
Opponents of this government’s commission in the making also carefully analyzed the language used in Pompeo’s announcement. They qualified it as “unusual,” claiming that the expressions like “unalienable right” or “natural law” stem from the discourse used by extremists on the far right. They are using this vocabulary to make a deliberate and artificial division between the “unalienable” and “alienable” human rights.
Church Interfering With the State Affairs Is Unacceptable
Political rivals are not alone in sharing their fears and doubts on the role of the commission.
President of the non-profit organization that deals with questions of gender and sexual equity and rights in the country and abroad, Serra Sippel, worries that Pompeo is going to mix the church and the state affairs which would be unacceptable.
She used the recent interview Pompeo gave to the Christian Broadcasting Network to back up her fears. He stated in this interview that all the tasks he had as a member of Congress, the head of the CIA, and now as the State Secretary, he understood better with the help of faith that had always guided him.
This is a worrying sign that people already discriminated by the church, like the LGBTQ population or women, may face further discrimination if the secretary involves his religious beliefs in everything he does. Sippel added that the relativization of the church and state affairs should be seriously taken as a warning sign.
She also thinks that the administration is going to endanger the right for seeking asylum by the revision, and this human right has been deeply entrenched in the U.N. Declaration.
New York representative, Eliot Engel, goes a step further accusing Pompeo of being ominously secretive about the work and purpose of the announced commission. Thus, he decided to push the proposal to stop financing the whole project.
Supporters of the Commission Reject the Opposition Fears as Overblown
People who support the whole idea label all these reactions as overblown. They think that the revision of what Americans take for the essential human rights is necessary. They compare the ranking of human rights with the ranking of interests. For these people, it is important to see what are the vital rights that need to be protected, so that the government can decide what to invest in.
Mary Ann Glendon, who is the head of this commission, is a bigotted Catholic and fervent opponent of the abortion as the women’s right. Glendon had made some controversial statements before. For example, when she protested against awarding the “Boston Globe” the Pulitzer prize for in-depth research of pedophilia cases among the clergy. She even compared this to awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Bin Laden.
She also refused to get an award on one occasion because Barack Obama was supposed to give an introductory speech, and she despised him for supporting the abortion.