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Pompeo’s Quest to Redefine Human Rights Draws Concern at U.N.

  • September 23, 2020

U.N. diplomats and human rights experts said that effort was equally worrisome, believing it was a cryptic way to ignore decades’ worth of treaties since 1948 that enshrined protections for racial minorities, same-sex couples and women around the globe.

“It’s moving backward,” said Louis Charbonneau, the United Nations director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s returning us back to some kind of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ world where the international protections against racial discrimination, against discrimination against women, people with disabilities and L.G.B.T. people don’t exist.”

A State Department spokeswoman said the United States supported the landmark 1948 document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

In 2019, Mr. Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, created the Commission on Unalienable Rights to provide a new vision for human rights policy that would more closely align with the “nation’s founding principles” and uphold religious freedom as America’s most fundamental value. Human rights scholars have criticized the panel since its inception, noting that it is filled with conservatives who were intent on promoting views against abortion and marriage equality, and fearing that it could have repercussions more broadly on human rights around the globe.

In July, Mr. Pompeo released a draft of a report by the commission with a divisive speech in Philadelphia. He attacked “too many leading voices,” including organizations like The New York Times, saying they were advancing the “hatred of our founding principles.” He also asserted God’s importance in American society.

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