In a sharp rebuke to Trump-era policies, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday formally scrapped a blueprint championed by his predecessor to limit U.S. promotion of human rights abroad to causes favored by conservatives like religious freedom and property matters while dismissing reproductive and LGBTQ rights.
Blinken said a report prepared for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that sought to pare down the number of freedoms prioritized in U.S. foreign policy was “unbalanced,” did not reflect Biden administration policies and would not guide them. The report from Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights had been harshly criticized by human rights groups.
“One of the core principles of human rights is that they are universal. All people are entitled to these rights, no matter where they’re born, what they believe, whom they love, or any other characteristic,” Blinken said. “Human rights are also co-equal; 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,” he said. “At my confirmation hearing, I promised that the Biden-Harris Administration would repudiate those unbalanced views. We do so decisively today.”
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