Monday, June 3, 2019
NEW COMMISSION ON UNALIENABLE RIGHTS TO REVIEW WHERE HUMAN RIGHTS CONFLICT WITH US FOUNDING PRINCIPLES
Last week the Federal Register published notice that the State Department intends to establish a Commission on Unalienable Rights that would "provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters. The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights." The Commission will be separate from the State Department's Human Rights Bureau.
Politico reports that “The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation's founding principles of natural law and natural rights,” states the notice, which is dated May 22. " Some are concerned that the reference to "founding principals" is code for suppressing the rights of women and members of the LGBT community.
"The word 'natural' in such context is often interpreted to mean “God-given,” a phrasing that is less common in modern human rights literature but which could signal a religious component, experts said." Secretary Pompeo said that the Commission will review "how we think about human rights inside our efforts in diplomacy."
The Register lists Kiron Skinner as the contact person. Early in May Think Progress reported Skinner's statement that "the United States can’t focus on human rights if it wants to combat China — and that China presents the first time the United States has faced a great power competitor that isn’t “Caucasian” and that China presents "a different civilization."
Professor Robert George of Princeton University has been involved in the creation of the Commission. ABC News reported that Prof. George is "co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit that advocates against same-sex marriage, is among the 15 academics recommended to make up the panel, according to the source. Author of the 1999 book "In Defense of Natural Law," where he argued against homosexuality and abortion rights and in favor of religious liberty, George also wrote the original concept note that outlined a vision for the commission, the source said.