By Raymond Wolfe
The Biden administration has formally dismissed a pro-freedom human rights commission started under President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced last week.
In a press conference about State Department’s 2020 human rights reports, Secretary Blinken veiledly refenced the Commission on Unalienable Rights, an expert panel convened by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2019. Blinken claimed to “repudiate” the commission, which has received broad, interfaith praise for its strong defense of religious liberties, and said the group was “recently disbanded.”
The secretary reiterated the Biden regime’s pro-LGBT and pro-abortion platform in the press conference, stating that “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,” Blinken said, adding that the new regime rejects the views of the committee “decisively.” Blinken had promised Senate Democrats that he would rebuke the Commission on Unalienable Rights during his confirmation hearing.
Despite vehement attacks by Democrats and George Soros-funded activist groups, the Commission on Unalienable Rights won international acclaim from across faiths, including from the world’s largest independent Muslim organization. The panel was composed of renowned legal experts, as well as leading Jewish and Muslim scholars, and was chaired by Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon.
“We wanted to go back to first principles, back to our founding documents, our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights to focus on those things that are central to the understanding of rights here in America,” Secretary Pompeo said about the initiative, which stressed the fundamental importance of religious freedom.
“International law accepts that some human rights are absolute or nearly so, admitting of few or no exceptions, even in times of national emergency,” the commission’s final report, released last summer, read. The report named religious freedom an “absolute” right.
“Prominent among the unalienable rights that government is established to secure, from the founders’ point of view, are property rights and religious liberty. A political society that destroys the possibility of either loses its legitimacy,” it warned.
The Biden regime’s repudiation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights has drawn condemnation from Christian and pro-freedom groups.
“This signifies the downgrading of the role of religious freedom in foreign policy and frankly, domestically as well because the commission had elevated the role of religious freedom and articulated its role as an important human right,” Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said about Secretary Blinken’s statements.
“The situation of many Muslim-majority countries around the world, including Iran, is very dire. Christians are being slaughtered in Nigeria almost weekly, it seems, and there is no mention of that,” Weber said. “So when we look at the horrific atrocities and human rights violations going on around the world, religious persecution is among them, and it’s totally disappointing that (Blinken is) not highlighting that.”
International Christian Concern likewise raised concerns as to “whether the Biden administration is still committed to putting religious freedom as a central principle in the United States’ foreign policy priorities” in the wake of the press conference.
While unveiling the latest State Department human rights report, Blinken also revealed that he has instructed the agency to reinstate a section about “reproductive rights” in future reports. He called “sexual and reproductive rights” – common euphemisms for abortion – “human rights.”
Blinken and the Biden regime have worked swiftly to erase President Trump’s monumental pro-life, pro-Christian legacy since January. The new regime already has revoked the Protect Life Rule, which cut billions of dollars of abortion funding to foreign nonprofits, and left the Geneva Consensus, a declaration signed by 32 countries reaffirming the right to life. The Biden White House also rebuked the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, a scholarly historical commission that sought to provide a counter-narrative to the error-filled, Marxist “1619 Project.”