American University Washington College of Law Professor Rebecca Hamilton writes in Just Security about the proposed U.S. State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, raising concerns that it will advance an anti-human rights agenda, and rejecting the contradiction between human rights and American principles that its draft charter implies. "Upholding human rights is an American value," she writes. "And while leading the way globally isn’t always what we’ve done best, when we do it well we see not only the inherent benefit, but also the alignment between human rights and national security."
Hamilton also raises the problematic institutional implications of the Commission’s structure. "Both the Office of Legal Adviser and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, are staffed with career civil servants who understand U.S. legal obligations and are steeped in knowledge of the human rights system in order to serve the Secretary of State. The Commission will consist of 'experts and consultants' to be 'appointed by the Secretary of State.' If the Commission serves as an end-run around the advice of government employees, it sets a dangerous precedent for the process of U.S. foreign policy formulation."