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US human rights panel will have widespread impact

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Significance

Pompeo launched the commission on July 8, charging it with providing “fresh thinking” on human rights where concepts of rights have “departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights”. However, the body’s precise activities are left vague. The commission is also widely interpreted as an effort to infuse the current framework for human rights in US foreign policy with more conservative social values.

Impacts

  • The commission could be a flashpoint in budget negotiations down to September/October and beyond.
  • The body will likely reinterpret rights more conservatively, including on abortion and LGBT issues, and elevate religious liberty.
  • The pro-Israel lobby will welcome the commission, partly as the UN has been criticised as being ‘anti-Israel’.
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