(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
In June 2019, Secretary Pompeo illegally formed the Commission on Unalienable Rights with a predetermined goal of privileging religious freedom over all other human rights in American foreign policy. The Commission is working to articulate a definition of human rights that is grounded in certain religious traditions and that will eliminate rights for LGBTQI individuals, restrict sexual and reproductive health and rights and remove protections for other marginalized communities across the globe. We filed suit to stop it.
The Commission is unlawfully stacked with members who have staked out positions hostile to LGBTQI and reproductive rights while excluding established human rights organizations, and has failed to release key public documents, as required by law. The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that groups, like the Commission, that are convened to advise agencies maintain a balanced membership, demonstrate that their existence is in the public interest, and operate transparently. Since its creation, however, the Commission has excluded representatives from mainstream human rights groups and sidelined career diplomats within the State Department. The Commission is also conducting meetings behind closed doors and failing to make its key records available to the public. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to know what the Commission is doing as it prepares to provide the Trump administration with a roadmap to deny equal rights for all.
We filed suit against Secretary Pompeo and the State Department for violating FACA by creating the unlawful Commission on Unalienable Rights. On behalf of international human rights organizations — Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), the Council for Global Equality, and Global Justice Center — we sued to shut down this unlawful advisory group.