- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2019

A group of 50 House Democrats is questioning the State Department’s latest commission on human rights, raising concerns that the new group could set back existing human rights policies.

The group, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a letter Thursday that they are “deeply concerned” that the Department of State Commission on Unalienable Rights “is an attempt to make an end run around … widely accepted interpretations of human rights law to push a narrow, discriminatory agenda that decides whose rights are worth protecting and whose rights the administration will ignore.”

This month, Mr. Pompeo announced the establishment of the commission, which will include philosophers, experts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who will offer a new take on the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy.

The commission has received criticism from several global advocacy groups who argue it could undercut the rights of individuals in several minority groups around the world, specifically narrowing rights for the LGBTQ community and reproductive rights for women.

The lawmakers on Thursday demanded “clear assurances that this commission is not merely a scheme to inject religion into government policy-making.”

The letter appears to be the first effort by lawmakers to create legislation that would counter the panel’s creation.

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