U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced the formation of a new commission that will take a "fresh look" at human rights through the lens of "natural law," and civil and human rights advocates are outraged. In preliminary filings the State Dept. noted the Commission will explore "our nation's founding principles of natural law and natural rights."
"Natural law," is religious right wing extremist code for anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights, especially marriage for same-sex couples.
Critics are outraged.
The director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program weighed in:
Make no mistake, Trump’s “Commission on Unalienable Rights” is an affront to universal human rights. It will no dou… https://t.co/zgPRqO8EFh— Jamil Dakwar (@Jamil Dakwar)1562380013.0
Secretary Pompeo, a known right wing Christian extremist in his own right, has named Mary Ann Glendon, a professor who is also his former mentor, to lead the "Commission on Unalienable Rights."
Glendon is an anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic activist who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican) under President George W. Bush. She is also known for her opposition to the use of condoms to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to claim something is, in fact, a human right?" Pompeo told reporters Monday, adding, as Yahoo News notes, that "words like rights can be used for good or evil."
Glendon should understand Pompeo's remarks. She penned a 2004 op-ed supporting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In a unique twist of language she claimed the amendment "should be welcomed by all Americans who are concerned about equality and preserving democratic decision-making."
And in a shocking move Glendon chastised the awarding of a Pulitzer Prize to the Boston Globe for its work exposing pedophile priests. She reportedly said; "If fairness & accuracy have anything to do with it, awarding the Pulitzer to the Boston Globe would be like giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Osama bin Laden."
Anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins was briefed on the Commission before it was officially announced, CBS News reports.
A State Dept. official says the Commission is a "personal project" of Secretary Pompeo's, and Politico reports the Commission "was conceived with almost no input from the State Department’s human rights bureau, people familiar with the matter say, effectively sidelining career government experts who have focused on human rights policy and history across numerous administrations."
Meanwhile, Amnesty International issued a scathing rebuke t Pompeo and his new Commission. In "Trump Administration Commission on Unalienable Rights Politicizes Human Rights for Hate," the human rights organization's national director of advocacy and government affairs, Joanne Lin, said:
“This administration has actively worked to deny and take away long-standing human rights protections since Trump’s inauguration. If this administration truly wanted to support people’s rights, it would use the global framework that’s already in place. Instead, it wants to undermine rights for individuals, as well as the responsibilities of governments.”
“This approach only encourages other countries to adopt a disregard for basic human rights standards and risks weakening international, as well as regional frameworks, placing the rights of millions of people around the world in jeopardy.”
“International agreements, like the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, have been upheld by prior administrations over the last 71 years, regardless of their party. This politicization of human rights in order to, what appears to be an attempt to further hateful policies aimed at women and LGBTQ people, is shameful.”