One Big Thing: Can the United States lead on human rights again?
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What is it?
- On July 16, the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights released a report which assesses of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.
- Many human rights experts believe that the report will limit the scope of what is considered a human right but others have argued that the commission’s report is timely and sets a high bar which will hopefully lead to real change in how human rights are promoted.
Why is it important?
- The United States has historically been a leader promoting global human rights and with human rights in decline around the world, a renewed emphasis is needed on human rights in American foreign policy.
- The Commission on Unalienable Rights already faced criticism from the human rights community for unfairly prioritizing certain rights above others. In May 2020, over 167 rights-focused organizations signed an open letter in opposition to the commission.
- Despite criticism of the commission, the report comes at a time when China and Russia’s authoritarian influence is spreading across the globe.
What can you do?
- Check out the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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