US lobbying at the UN against progressive causes

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, at the Wisconsin Senate in Madison on September 23.

Mike Pompeo will have done everything to organize a successful event. To be sure to be joined by the greatest number of diplomats, this Wednesday, September 23, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the American Secretary of State had chosen an apparently consensual motive – the celebration of the Declaration Universal Human Rights Convention of 1948 – and sends out invitations to each capital through US missions abroad two weeks in advance.

Alerted by NGOs that the head of American diplomacy wanted to take advantage of the event to promote the commission on inalienable rights he created in 2019, suspected of being a vehicle to roll back women’s rights or those of the LGBT community, European and British diplomats were careful not to send ambassadors to the meeting, just observers out of diplomatic politeness.

On the European side, Hungary, Poland and Romania have seceded and signed the joint declaration proposed by Mike Pompeo. The others orchestrated a coordinated campaign on the various Twitter accounts of the member countries at the time of the event. “There is no hierarchy between human rights, no subordination of one over another”, could we read on the account of the French ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Rivière.

Less predictable diplomats

It is not the first time that the way in which Washington advances its pawns on human rights issues has inspired suspicion among Europeans and liberal countries within the United Nations. “For this administration, civil and political rights – in particular the right to religion and freedom of expression – count more than economic, social and cultural rights – the right to health, education or housing” , explains a European diplomat. “The idea of ​​Mike Pompeo’s inalienable rights is that there are too many rights claimed by too many different groups, so we have to go back to basics, analysis Louis Charbonneau, UN advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. It’s a way to get rid of the right to abortion, or LGBT rights. “

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Since Donald Trump’s accession to the White House, American diplomats have not been as predictable as they used to be in the United Nations Third Committee, the one where human rights resolutions are negotiated. “It all seemed to be controlled by the very Christian conservative movement of vice-president, Mike Pence”, analyzes a second diplomat.

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