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‘Lethal arrows’: Pompeo and Amnesty agree on human rights, just not on who gets to weaponize them

‘Lethal arrows’: Pompeo and Amnesty agree on human rights, just not on who gets to weaponize them
In setting up a new commission on ‘unalienable rights,’ Washington has admitted to using human rights as a weapon. Its critics don’t disagree, but want that weapon to work both ways. Of actual human rights, there is not a trace.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday the establishment of the commission, made up of “human rights experts, philosophers, and activists” with the purpose of conducting an “informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”

To establish the need for such a body, Pompeo quoted former Czech dissident – and later president – Vaclav Havel, who warned that human rights “can be rays of light in a realm of darkness … [but] they can also be lethal arrows.”

This stunning admission, however, went entirely unnoticed by professional human rights activists, who were too busy shrieking about President Donald Trump’s “hateful policies.” 

“If this administration truly wanted to support people’s rights, it would use the global framework that’s already in place,” said Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government affairs for Amnesty International USA, adding that it’s “shameful” to politicize human rights in order to “further hateful policies aimed at women and LGBTQ people.”

What exactly those “hateful” policies might be, Lin did not say. The Trump administration has refused to fund international programs providing abortions, but it has also announced a worldwide push to decriminalize homosexuality earlier this year.

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It just so happens that Amnesty USA is currently running a massive campaign to support “families seeking asylum” on the southern US border, accusing the Trump administration of “human rights violations” for detaining people who cross illegally. Over 600,000 people have crossed the US-Mexico border illegally just this year, all claiming to seek asylum. The migrant crisis has caught the attention of the UN human rights officials, who have denounced the US handling of it in the strongest of terms.  

“Children should never be held in immigration detention or be separated from their families," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, effectively declaring that bringing a child – any child – ought to be a “get out of jail free” card for migrants, and rendering asylum laws meaningless.

Amnesty’s reference to existing institutions is no doubt a jab at the US decision to leave the UN Human Rights Council last June. US envoy to the UN at the time, Nikki Haley, called the council a “hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

The official line was that the US move came due to the council’s bias against Israel. Just a day prior, however, Bachelet’s predecessor Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein had condemned the “unconscionable” detention of child migrants as “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

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As with many other things, Trump has stripped the human rights issue of the pretense of propriety it once enjoyed. Until he came along, both the US and its globalist allies were fine with using human rights as a political weapon, since they were on the same side. The US also operated on the assumption it is an exceptional nation, not subject to rules and laws it expects others to follow. Trump didn’t invent that; he merely made it official.

The irony is that the UN human rights establishment is still in service of that paradigm, even as it condemns the US over its handling of the border crisis. According to former UN special rapporteur Alfred De Zayas, Bachelet’s recent report on Venezuela is “relying overwhelmingly on unverified allegations by opposition politicians and advocates of regime change who are only interested in weaponizing human rights.”

This ought to be the hill for human rights advocates to fight on, yet they choose not to. They would rather signal their virtue by supporting child abuse (while claiming to fight it) than question the grounds for regime change in Caracas, or the “humanitarian” interventions since the 1990s that have made a mess of the Balkans and turned Libya into a terrorist-infested open-air slave market. 

In effect, both Amnesty and Pompeo agree that human rights are “lethal arrows,” their only disagreement is who gets to shoot at whom. 

Nebojsa Malic, for RT

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