The Trump administration plans to launch a new panel to offer "fresh thinking” on international human rights and “natural law,” a move some activists fear is aimed at narrowing protections for women and members of the LGBT community.
The new body, to be called the Commission on Unalienable Rights, will advise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a notice the State Department quietly published Thursday on the Federal Register. “The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation's founding principles of natural law and natural rights,” states the notice, which is dated May 22.
Several human rights activists said Thursday that they were surprised by the move and trying to learn details. Some privately said they worry that talk of the “nation’s founding principles” and “natural law” are coded signals of plans to focus less on protecting women and LGBT people.
The word “natural” in such context is often interpreted to mean “God-given,” a phrasing that is less common in modern human rights literature but which could signal a religious component, experts said.
Activists and former U.S. officials noted that the Trump administration’s record on human rights so far is spotty at best. “Many in the human rights community will welcome an opportunity to advise the Trump Administration on where its policies contradict America’s founding principles. There will be much to discuss,” said Rob Berschinski, a top official with Human Rights First. Read more via Politico