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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Washington U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, July 15, 2020 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

U.S. Effort to ‘Nationalize’ Human Rights Undermines Them at Home and Abroad

Monday, July 27, 2020

How can you square the doctrine of “America First” with the promotion of human rights? It’s a question that has bedeviled the Trump administration since it first took office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided his own answer on July 16, when he unveiled the much-anticipated draft report of the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights.

In a strident and tendentious speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pompeo attacked the “proliferation” of “new rights” claims to cover an ever-expanding set of groups and issues, saying it was time to get back to basics. Henceforth, U.S. human rights policy should be grounded in the limited conception of rights outlined in America’s founding documents. Pompeo’s misguided effort to nationalize U.S. human rights policy, if successful, would undermine the cause of freedom, equality and justice both at home and abroad. ...

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