New commission will give 'critical attention' to human rights, experts say

Catholic News Agency | 7/12/2019 | Staff
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Washington D.C., Jul 12, 2019 / 10:00 am (CNA).- International human rights experts have praised the creation of a State Department advisory body on human rights, calling it a very much needed contribution to global affairs.

“It’s been a long time since anybody in any official capacity gave critical attention to what it means to claim that something is a human right,” Dr. Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, told CNA.

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The new human rights commission will seek better to clarify fundamental human rights amidst an increase in the number of rights claims—claims that compete against each other, he said.

“Today, the dominant discourse is the human rights discourse,” George said. “There’s certainly been an inflation of rights claims, an inflation of rights language. Now anybody who advocates anything advocates it in the name of human rights. So how do we sort through those claims?”

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At a July 8 press conference at the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of the Commission on Unalienable Human Rights, consisting of up to 15 human rights experts of various religious, philosophical, and cultural backgrounds.

The purpose of the commission, Pompeo said, would be to advise him on human rights matters “grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

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That landmark document, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris in 1948, recognized fundamental human rights including the rights to life, religious freedom, equal protection under the law, and rights against torture and slavery.

In addition, Pompeo said he hoped the commission’s work would prove to be “one of the most profound reexaminations of the unalienable rights in the world since the 1948 Universal Declaration.”


The commission is anticipated...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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