US Human Rights Network Blog

US Human Rights Network Blog



Joint comment on Commission on Unalienable Rights report with Columbia HRI

Aug 3, 2020

Last Friday marked the final day for public comments on the Commission on Unalienable Rights draft report. It is our view that this report represents yet another effort by the Trump Administration to circumvent and delegitimize the international human rights framework. During the public comment period, the US Human Rights Network signed on to Human Rights First’s open letter, submitted our own public comment that centers the rights and experiences of the most marginalized people in the United States, and most recently jointly submitted a comment with the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, the Northeastern Law School Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, and Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.

Our joint comment with the above organizations expresses the following grievances with the report:

  • The Report Ignores Significant & Persistent Challenges to Equality in the U.S.
  • The Report Incorrectly Conflates Non-Discrimination and Equality
  • The Report Ignores that Economic and Social Rights are Vital to True Equality

The comment also rejects the following assertions in the report:

  • The assertion—fundamental to the Commission’s mandate—that a proliferation of rights claims has undermined the legitimacy and credibility of the human rights framework;
  • The idea that there is an untenable uncertainty regarding the meaning and scope of the human rights framework that necessitates sidelining binding treaties;
  • The manner in which the report promotes rights hierarchies through its emphasis on a certain subset of civil and political rights;
  • The Commission’s dismissal of certain human rights as “divisive social and political controversies”;
  • The report’s characterization of so-called new rights and the criteria contrived by the Commission for recognizing them.

Read the full comment

Access all of the public comments submitted to the Commission.

Thank you for our ongoing support and for your work on the ground to fight for the human rights and dignity of all people in the United States. The Network remains committed to holding the US accountable for its human rights violations. Click here to check out a recent webinar where USHRN Interim Executive Director Salimah Hankins discusses our recent Human Rights Council advocacy on police violence and systemic racism in the US with our partners Jamil Dakwar (ACLU) and Salma El Hosseiny (ISHR).

In solidarity,

US Human Rights Network Coordinating Center