Trump Admin Launches New Commission to Question What Qualifies as a Human Right

It will be overseen by an anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice conservative who served as the ambassador to the Vatican under George W. Bush.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday, July 8, the launch of a new human rights commission, the Commission on Unalienable Rights, which will turn a critical eye to which rights will be considered legitimate by the Trump administration.

LGBTQ and women’s rights advocates are concerned this could be another attempt at targeting those communities under the guise of so-called “religious freedom,” especially as the new commission will be headed up by social conservative Mary Ann Glendon (below, with Pompeo).

Mike Pompeo, Mary Ann Glendon
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Glendon, a Harvard law professor who served as ambassador to the Vatican during the George W. Bush administration, has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality and abortion.

Pompeo called her “an expert in the field of human rights, comparative law and political theory,” adding she was, in his estimation, “the perfect person to chair this effort.”

He also argued that “words like ’rights’ can be used by good or evil,” and that in some cases human rights rhetoric has been “hijacked” for “dubious or malignant purposes.”

Pompeo continued, saying Glendon and the others on her team will “provide the intellectual grist” for what he said he hopes will be “one of the most profound reexaminations of the unalienable rights in the world since the 1948 Universal Declaration,” of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations.

“I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to say or claim that something is, in fact, a human right? How do we know or how do we determine whether that claim that this or that is a human right, is it true, and therefore, ought it to be honored? How can there be human rights, rights we possess not as privileges we are granted or even earn, but simply by virtue of our humanity belong to us? Is it, in fact, true, as our Declaration of Independence asserts, that as human beings, we—all of us, every member of our human family—are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights?”

mary ann glendon
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Glendon mirrored Pompeo’s remarks, thanking him “especially for giving a priority to human rights at this moment when basic human rights are being misunderstood by many, manipulated by many, and ignored by the world’s worst human rights violators.”

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