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STATEMENT: State Department Report Damages U.S. Position on Human Rights, CAP Leaders Say

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights released a draft of its report on human rights. In response, Alexandra Schmitt, a human rights policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

This report does nothing to advance human rights in U.S. foreign policy but plenty to undermine human rights defenders on the front lines of change around the world. By suggesting a “distinctive American tradition” of rights, the report plays right into the hands of authoritarians and dictators who seek to paint universal human rights as some foreign concoction that they are not obliged to protect.

Maggie Siddiqi, director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at CAP, issued the following statement:

Every person deserves the right to freedom of religion as an essential human right that should be protected and upheld in the United States and around the world. But this report damages our understanding of religious freedom by prioritizing it over other universal human rights on which we all rely. People of faith will see through attempts to politicize religious freedom in order to justify discrimination against women, LGBTQ people, and others.

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