EU Urges Member States To Boycott Pompeo’s “Human Rights” Speech To UN

Screengrab / U.S. Department of State / YouTube

JakeThomas

Critics say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's take on human rights could undercut protections for marginalized groups.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took his controversial campaign to redefine and prioritize human rights to the United Nations this week, The Washington Post reported, inviting other democracies to join in the event.

But European countries have been “particularly skittish” about Pompeo’s interpretation — which gives “primacy to freedom of religion and property rights,” The Post wrote — and the EU urged member states not to participate.

  • Critics of Pompeo’s take on human rights have raised “concerns that it could undercut protections for women, gay people and other minorities,” according to the report.
  • Pompeo’s speech, billed as “Promoting and Protecting Human Rights: A Re-Dedication to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” drew from the views of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, which he founded last year.

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.

  • The Post noted that among the “57 countries that have joined a U.S.-drafted statement recognizing the universal declaration’s ideal that ‘certain principles are so fundamental as to apply to all human beings, everywhere, at all times’” are countries whose governments have been accused of human rights abuses.
  • The list includes Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and others — like Hungary, Poland and Serbia — are known to have an authoritarian bent.

“The U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights is a deeply misguided enterprise with the potential to undermine human rights protections that governments find disagreeable,” said Louis Charbonneau, the U.N. director for Human Rights Watch. “The commission promotes the false premise that too many people, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and women, are asserting their rights.”

Read the full report.

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