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Blinken Signals that Women's Rights Will Again Be a Focus of US Foreign Policy

Donald Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo complained about the "the prodigious expansion of human rights," and in May 2019 announced the creation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights to establish a narrow group of rights that his State department would seek to protect around the world. In essence Pompeo wanted to create a hierarchy of human rights; some important, some less so. Everyone who knew Pompeo and understood the GOP's reliance on evangelical Christians in US politics had a pretty good idea of which rights would rise to the top of the Secretary's hierarchy.

About a year later, Pompeo issued the Commission's report and, as expected, property rights and religion led the list of protected rights. And, at about the same time, the Trump administration decided to strip out women's reproductive rights from its annual human rights report on foreign nations.

Pompeo then tried to sell his new vision of human rights to the international community. Foreign leaders and rights advocates were less than enthusiastic.

New York Times: “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.” ...
"The response among European nations has been very skeptical, according to U.N. diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. They noted that Mr. Pompeo’s human rights commission had drawn concern among European countries for its heavy emphasis on religion and for advancing a concept that there could be too many human rights."

This week, President Joe Biden's Secretary of State, Antony Blinken announced that Pompeo's warped rights pyramid would be jettisoned and that women's rights and protections for LBGT individuals would again become a priority in American foreign policy.

NPR: "Human rights advocacy is taking on a new tone during the Biden administration. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he's not only placing a priority on promoting basic freedoms. He's also brushing aside the Trump administration's attempt to make some rights more important than others...."
Blinken: "There is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others. Past unbalanced statements that suggest such a hierarchy, including those offered by a recently disbanded State Department advisory committee, do not represent a guiding document for this administration.... [and] women's rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, are human rights."

#internationalrelations #news

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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