between the lines
July 7, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's critics think his decision to unveil a draft of a long-awaited report on human rights in person later this month despite the coronavirus pandemic reveals the project's true purpose, Politico reports.

Pompeo previously established a panel called the Commission on Unalienable Rights to re-evaluate how the United States approaches human rights. There has been skepticism of the project since the beginning — some observers have worried the report would prioritize religious freedom while undermining LGBTQ and reproductive rights, for example. Those fears appear to have been enhanced by the fact Pompeo isn't letting the coronavirus stop him from presenting the document and giving a speech at an event in Philadelphia on July 16; per Politico, critics believe the decision to go ahead with the event highlights the political nature of the work.

"I think it sort of reveals Pompeo's true intentions — that this is not about public policy," said Rori Kramer, director of U.S. advocacy for the American Jewish World Service. "It's about his political pet project."

Kramer and others also reportedly find it odd Pompeo is holding the event based on the draft of the report two weeks before a final version is issued, suggesting he isn't interested in the intervening public comment period. The State Department did not respond to Politico's request for comment on Tuesday. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

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