Unlawful Commission Report — Developed in Secret — Expected to Undercut Universal Protections for Women, LGBTQI Individuals
Insufficient Transparency Attempt Announced in New Government Court Filing
International Human Rights Orgs and Democracy Forward Issue Statement in Response
New York, N.Y. — In response to a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for unlawfully creating and operating the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, the Trump administration announced in a new legal filing that it will allow the public an opportunity to comment on the Commission’s report. That report is expected to issue recommendations for changing America’s stance on fundamental tenets of human rights law — likely by prioritizing certain religious liberties over other rights, like sexual and reproductive rights. The administration does not, however, provide any detailed information as to when the purported public comment period will open, how long it will remain open, or whether the Commission will consider any comments it receives.
The lawsuit, filed by Democracy Forward on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), the Council for Global Equality, and Global Justice Center, asserts that the Commission is unlawfully stacked with members hostile to LGBTQI and reproductive rights, has shielded committee records from the public, and has excluded the perspectives of mainstream human rights organizations — all in violation of federal transparency law.
The groups stated: “The Trump administration’s belated offer of some public input after the report has been issued doesn’t cure the fact that the report is the product of an unlawfully biased Commission. The Commission’s report — designed to erode human rights protections — is the fruit of a poisonous tree. We will continue our legal fight to shutter the Commission on Unalienable Rights and prevent Secretary Pompeo from relying on any recommendations issued by the illegal advisory group.”
The administration has faced significant legal, congressional, and public pressure over this unlawful commission. The lawsuit is supported in court by a coalition of human rights organizations.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.