Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to “decisively” refute a report compiled by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, that attempted to place limitations on the number of global human rights recognized and promoted abroad by the U.S. government. Human rights organizations had roundly criticized the 60-page report, issued last July, which prioritized property rights and religious freedom over international human rights agreements. The report was part of an overall effort by the Republican administration to place limits on what is considered to be a human right based on a conservative reading of the U.S. Constitution. In other words, fewer protections for fewer people— particularly those who are most vulnerable and in need of the protections. Pompeo had also nixed segments of the State Department’s annual report on international human rights.
The Biden administration has already turned back several Trump administration initiatives, reestablishing itself with the United Nations Human Rights Commission, ending global opposition to abortion rights, and recommitting to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad as a matter of administration policy.
In a speech on Tuesday, Sec. Blinken will reportedly frame human rights as “universal and coequal,” arguing there is “no hierarchy that makes some more important than others.” He will also direct the department to prepare addendums to Pompeo’s original report that outline maternal mortality rates and the hurdles women face to accessing sexual and reproductive health care.