• Press Release

State Department’s effort to cherry-pick rights is a dangerous stunt

July 16, 2020

Mike Pompeo
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Responding to a report issued today by the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Tarah Demant, the director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA said:

“The U.S. government cannot unilaterally redefine which human rights will be respected and which will be ignored.

“The U.S. State Department’s effort to cherry-pick rights in order to deny some their human rights is a dangerous political stunt that could spark a race to the bottom by human rights-abusing governments around the world.

“The administration is seeking to create a hierarchy of rights, where it gets to decide which rights are ‘unalienable’ and which rights are what it calls in the report ‘divisive social and political controversies,’ a category which predictably includes sexual and reproductive rights and LGBTI rights.

“Human rights are not a choose-your-own-adventure in which the U.S. government gets to pick a different ending because it doesn’t like a particular set of rights. This report, made through an illegitimate process, only further shows the contempt this administration has for human rights and its desire to excise certain rights.”

Background and context

It its submission to the U.S. Department of State’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, Amnesty International called on the U.S. government to renew its commitment to human rights, not only by halting its heinous violations of human rights at home, but also by re-engaging the international community through United Nations (U.N.) and regional human rights institutions.

The U.S. government has recently abandoned its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, refused to respond to letters of concern by U.N. human rights experts, and now is seeking to deny reproductive rights and LGBTI rights, which the report categorizes as “political preference,” by trying to redefine the definition of human rights.

In advance of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s upcoming review of the United States in November 2020, Amnesty International submitted a list of concerns and recommendations on how the United States should urgently improve its human rights record.

Media contact: Mariya Parodi, [email protected]