At UN, Mike Pompeo Calls For “Alternative” Human Rights
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared during a UN event on Wednesday that human rights around the globe are in “crisis” and urged other nations to join in his alternative view that places the highest priority on religious freedom and property rights.
The Washington Post reported that during his speech, Pompeo “quickly pivoted from the 1948 U.N. declaration that is the cornerstone of contemporary human rights principles to the views espoused by the Commission on Unalienable Rights, which he created last year.”
The panel has drawn criticism for giving primacy to freedom of religion and property rights, raising concerns that it could undercut protections for women, gay people and other minorities.
Pompeo said he hoped the commission’s report would inspire other countries to examine their moral, philosophical and religious traditions in reaffirming a commitment to human rights.
- Pompeo said “unalienable rights” need to be defended right now because “Authoritarian governments, from China to Iran to Venezuela, are depriving our fellow human beings of their basic rights.”
- He continued: “Many multinational organizations have lost their way, focusing on partisan policy preferences while failing to defend fundamental rights. And even many well-intentioned people assert certain novel rights that often conflict.”
- The Post noted that in the State Department's view of human rights, “some rights have more weight than others and all rights depend to some degree on religious freedom.”
A European diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, described the U.S. approach as “cherry picking” some rights over others and said few were interested in attending.
- Louis Charbonneau, the UN director for Human Rights Watch, said Pompeo’s commission “is a deeply misguided enterprise with the potential to undermine human rights protections that governments find disagreeable.”
- Charbonneau continued: “The commission promotes the false premise that too many people, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and women, are asserting their rights.”