Tag archives: Human Rights

State Department’s New Commission Set to Expose Human Rights Abusers

by Arielle Del Turco

July 10, 2019

July 9th marked the four-year anniversary of the launch of a campaign by Chinese officials to crack down on human rights lawyers. Many of these lawyers were arrested, given prison sentences, and tortured behind bars. This tragedy is now referred to as the “709 Incident” because it began on July 9, 2015. Since this date, China has continued to persecute human rights lawyers and activists.

The Chinese government’s crackdown on anyone brave enough to advocate for human rights in China is especially disgusting given that China currently sits on the United Nation’s Human Rights Council.

The fact that shameless human rights abusers can participate in the UN Human Rights Council brings to light an issue that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is trying to address.

On July 7th, Pompeo announced the launch of the Commission on Unalienable Rights. This new panel of scholars, legal experts, and advocates are tasked with reorienting the definition of “human rights” to one that our country’s Founders and the signers of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights would recognize.

Political activists over the past several decades have slowly eroded the proper understanding of human rights from being centered around life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to a catch-all phrase that encompasses everything from abortion to free college tuition.

The confusion over human rights is especially evident in international affairs. The United Nations’ Human Rights Council has shamelessly ignored obvious human rights violations around the world—all while some of the worst violators of human rights claim membership on the council. It’s clear that international institutions tasked with addressing human rights concerns have lost focus on their mission. The Commission on Unalienable Rights is looking to change that.

The commission, which will provide advice, not policy, will take a step back and consider the source and substance of what the Declaration of Independence labeled our “unalienable rights.” Informed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and U.S. founding documents, the commission is intended to provide insight on how we can better define and protect essential human rights.

Pompeo argues that oppressive regimes have abused the term “human rights” and acted as if they were champions of this cause. We can no longer let brutal regimes get away with hiding their heinous actions as they hijack the legitimate and necessary terminology of “human rights.” There must be a universal standard of basic human rights so that countries can be held accountable for violating the fundamental rights of their people. We can hope that this new commission will provide the clarity that is so desperately needed to effectively advocate for those most basic rights which all people are entitled to, but far too many people around the world are denied.

Pro-Life: Right Policy, Good - and Imperative - Politics

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 2, 2014

In a post-election article in Politico, James Hohman describes what he terms “fault lines” as the 2016 Republican presidential field emerges. Among the issues he mentions are Common Core, NSA eavesdropping, immigration, Medicaid expansion and gay marriage. Noticeably absent: abortion.

Why? One reason is that advocates of protecting unborn children and their mothers from a predatory abortion industry are winning. According to the Guttmacher Institute (ironically, once the research arm of the country’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood), “In 2013 alone, 22 states enacted 70 antiabortion measures, including pre-viability abortion bans, unwarranted doctor and clinic regulations, limits on the provision of medication abortion and bans on insurance coverage of abortion. However, 2013 was not even the year with the greatest number of new state-level abortion restrictions, as 2011 saw 92 enacted; 43 abortion restrictions were enacted by states in 2012.” Guttmacher also notes that by mid-2014, “13 states (had) adopted 21 new restrictions that could limit access to abortion.”

The implications of these new laws and regulations are profound: As noted by Catholic Family Association president Austin Ruse, “How effective have some of these state legislative efforts been? A few years ago, Texas had 40 abortion clinics. Now, it has less than ten and counting.” Put another way, thousands of unborn children in the Lone Star state will be welcomed into life and their mothers defended against the abortion industry’s exploitation.

Although Barack Obama’s commitment to unrestricted access to abortion-on-demand is almost legendary (infamous, more accurately and sadly), the new Republican House and Senate can still pass pro-life bills that not only will set the stage for victories in a future pro-life Administration but which will remind the GOP rank-and-file that they can rely on those for whom they voted to keep their word. A promise to defend life is especially worth keeping in an era when cynicism about politics and politicians is too well-deserved.

A second reason is that the potential contenders for the GOP presidential nomination two years from now are smart politicians: In the Republican Party, abortion is as settled as a difficult issue ever can be, and those vying for the party’s top electoral slot realize they must commit to defending life or fail in their effort to win the nomination. Last month’s election verified this: Brad Tupi of Human Events observes that “Of those voters who said abortion should be illegal, 73 percent were Republicans and 25 percent were Democrats. These results conform to the stated platform positions of the two major parties.” Tupi rightly comments that “voter turnout was abysmal, about 36 percent. This is the lowest turnout since World War II.” However, it’s also noteworthy that those who turned-out last month compose the core of the GOP’s voters, the men and women who will also vote in the 2016 primaries and whose votes will determine the next Republican presidential ticket.

Overwhelmingly and nationwide, Republican office holders are pro-life. All but a handful of the Republican Members of Congress, both House and Senate, are advocates (actively or at least passively) of the sanctity of life from conception until natural death. And as Dave Andrusko writes in National Right to Life News, last month a “diverse field of Republicans (won) in state legislative races; almost all are pro-life.” That’s why, in a lengthy analysis piece, Politico reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham argues that “the GOP victories in the statehouses and governor’s mansions … are priming the ground for another round of legal restrictions on abortion.” Cunningham predicts “a wave of anti-abortion laws” in the states.

We at the Family Research Council will welcome that wave. For those of us committed to protecting lives within the womb and helping their mothers with their little ones, born and unborn, that wave will be more like a cleansing flood. Let it come.

Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery ¿ Here at Home and Around the World

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 20, 2014

The State Department has issued its annual report on human trafficking, “Trafficking in Persons – 2014”.  In announcing the release of the report, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that a conservative estimate places the number of trafficked persons at 20 million.

Here at home, it is estimated that up to 300,000 women and girls are at risk of being trafficked – held in bondage to sexual fiefs who use them for prostitution and/or pornography. That estimate was given at FRC by an aide to U.S. Rep. Anne Wagner (R-MO), who has introduced legislation to help combat human trafficking here in the U.S.

The relationship between abortion, pornography, prostitution, and trafficking is acute and extensive. Here are some resources to help better acquaint you with this rats’ nest of evil – and how you can work, in practical ways, to fight it, here at home and abroad (all of these resources are available and accessible at no cost):

FRC Online lecture: “Stopping Online Advertisers of Trafficking Victims: the ‘SAVE’ Act

FRC Brochure: “How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community

FRC Webcast: “Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery

FRC Blog/Op-Ed: “How China’s ‘One Child’ Policy Fosters Human Trafficking

Protecting Women from Virginia’s Gosnell

by Arina Grossu

June 12, 2014

When the public found out about the atrocities going on in abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors,” there was widespread disbelief. Pro-abortion activists claimed he was the exception to the rule and that most abortionists were not like Gosnell. But other abortionists just like Gosnell are still wreaking havoc on women and are a danger to society.

Steven Brigham, for example, is another Kermit Gosnell. Recently, newly elected Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe requested a review of abortion facility health and safety standards by the Commissioner of Health. These measures have been put in place to protect the health and safety of women. My comments to the VA Board of Health concerning Gov. McAuliffe’s plan to rescind the new abortion facility safety rules can be found here.

Steven Brigham is an unscrupulous abortionist who has had his license suspended in six states, faced countless lawsuits, been caught operating without a medical license, and personally injured and killed multiple women by his dangerous abortion practices. He currently starts late abortions in Virginia, then transports women across state lines to his facility in Maryland to finish the abortions.

His unethical practices are a menace. The Family Foundation in Virginia exposed his unethical conduct in this video. Even NARAL has called Brigham’s actions “egregious and unscrupulous”.

If Gov. McAuliffe succeeds in revoking Virginia’s regulation of abortion facilities, public health risks to vulnerable women will increase substantially. Among them: there will be no oversight of abortionists like Brigham.

Let’s urge Gov. McAuliffe to stand with women and keep the health and safety measures in place.

Syria … and The Congo, Egypt, etc.

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 11, 2013

Family Research Council is not a foreign policy organization, nor are American military or diplomatic affairs in the top tier of FRC’s bank of issues. However, we care deeply about global injustice, violence against the innocent, and the persecution of professing Christians in so many regions of the world. In light of the President’s remarks last evening about the brutality of the Assad regime against its own people, it is worth noting that what has taken place in Syria is by no means unique, in terms of evil or currency, in our fallen world:

The Congo: “Conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken the lives of 5.4 million people since 1998 and continue to leave as many as 45,000 dead every month, according to a major International Rescue Committee study.”

Egypt: “The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have began forcing the roughly 15,000 Christian Copts of Dalga village in Egypt to pay a jizya tax as indicated in Koran 9:29, author and translator Raymond Ibrahim reported on Sunday. Jizya is the money, or tribute, ‘that conquered non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued” to safeguard their existence,’ Mr. Ibrahim explained.”

North Korea: “Up to 20,000 North Korean prison camp inmates … of Camp No 22, one of Kim Jong-un’s most brutal labour camps, have disappeared according to a human rights group … There are fears that up to 20,000 may have been allowed to die of disease or starvation in the run-up to the closure of the camp at the end of last year. The suspicion has emerged from a newly-released report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) detailing the situation in penal colonies as Kim Jong-un consolidated his power after taking over as leader from his father, Kim Jong-il who died in 2011.” Source: The Telegraph

Uganda: “For over two decades, the Government of Uganda engaged in an armed conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda that led to the internal displacement of more than 2,000,000 Ugandans from their homes … The members of the Lord’s Resistance Army used brutal tactics in northern Uganda, including mutilating, abducting, and forcing individuals into sexual servitude and forcing a large number of children and youth in Uganda, estimated by the Survey for War Affected Youth to be over 66,000, to fight as part of the rebel force.” Source: GovTrack

These are only four examples. We cannot but be moved by the horror of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but we should not fail to recognize that great evil is done on an ongoing basis by terrorists, despots, and other brutes throughout the world.

That’s why so many Evangelical and Catholic ministries are reaching out to those in dire need in troubled places. FRC is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, whose “Servant Match” site can connect you with mercy ministries targeted toward the victims of violence and persecution. Catholic Relief Services works to “assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person.”

Whatever position one holds on U.S. military intervention in Syria, all of us can pray for victims of oppression and violence in that tortured land and in other countries in similar situations, and prayerfully partner with ministries that are actively helping them.

The Pain of Selfishness

by Family Research Council

January 10, 2013

Promoting self-esteem is ubiquitous in today’s culture.  From social media to school classrooms there has been a strong emphasis on the value and worth of the individual.  The problem is this value has been bandied-about so much that people have forgotten that the root of our value does not lie in ourselves but in the fact that we are created in the image of God. 

Dr. Keith Ablow recently pointed out that all this narcissism leads to problems when those illusions of greatness disappear.  He notes that even though many people have become lazier they still rate themselves as exceptional. 

We must remember that while humans have value as beings created in God’s image we are still capable of marring that beauty through our selfishness.  The most beautiful expression of love is giving all you have for others.  Perhaps we should be promoting more greatness through giving and less greatness through gratifying then the next generation could find true fulfillment. 

It’s worth taking a look at Dr. Ablow’s article and reading what a secular psychologist has to say about how, if everything one does is “special,” then nothing truly is special at all.

The New Spanish Revolution: How the Socialists are Reshaping Spain

by Krystle Gabele

March 24, 2011

On April 11, 2011, Family Research Council will be hosting a Family Policy Lecture about how socialists are reshaping Spain. Ignacio Arsuaga will be the featured speaker, and will also be releasing his new book, The Zapatero Project: Chronicle of an attack on society. This lecture should be particularly interesting, considering Arsuaga’s work in defending human rights through his work as President of HazteOir.org.

You can register for this lecture, which will also be available by webcast, by clicking here.

The Shame of the City

by Robert Morrison

October 2, 2009

Wednesday night, the Empire State Building in Manhattan shone red and yellow as a tribute to the sixtieth anniversary of the Communist takeover of China.

When lit, the Empire State is a lovely sight. Yet last nights display cast a rather ugly glow. Why? Because given the nation it is honoring, we must ask the sponsors of this celebration which highlights of Chinas history during those sixty years they especially want to honor.

Might it be the murder of Christian missionaries in the late 40s and 50s? How about the killing of millions of Chinese during Chairman Maos Great Leap Forward campaign of the mid-fifties? During those years, Communist authorities pressed rural Chinese to modernize, demanding such insanities as backyard steel mills.

China enveloped Tibet in the late 50s. That ancient Buddhist land is still being suppressed and its unique culture eradicated fifty years later. The Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans still live in exile.

In the mid-60s, Chairman Mao initiated the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which left more millions dead. Fanatical Red Guards beat and brutalized anyone who had exposure to Western Cultureand even trashed Chinas revered cultural heritage.

China scholar Simon Leys wrote in Chinese Shadows about the Little Red Book of Maos banal thoughts. Millions of Red Guards memorized, chanted, and used that book to beat their elders over the head. Leysthe nom de plume of a respected expert in Chinese antiquitiesdescribed the Cultural Revolution as an exercise in which people had their skulls opened, their brains scooped out, and their brain pans filled with Maoist concrete. He didnt mean it literally; at least, I hope he didnt.

When, in utter exhaustion and desperation, the rulers of China opened up to the West in the 1970s, Communist Party leader Teng Hsiao-p’ing charmed liberals here with his supposed reforms and rationality. But Teng also instituted one of the most brutal of population control programs in history.

Stanford University scholar Steven Mosher courageously exposed to the world the massive forced abortions that resulted from Chinas One Child policy. An estimated 50 million forced abortions have occurred in China, almost all of them attributable to the Communist Partys inflexible rule.

President Obama, in one of his first acts, revoked Ronald Reagans policy of preventing U.S. foreign aid from being used to fund abortion. Mr. Obama is once again giving our tax money to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has been complicit in Chinas One Child policy since its inception.

And lets not forget Tienanmen Square. In 1989, thousands of student demonstrators were brutalized by soldiers ostensibly given drugs and alcohol to inspire them to murder. Tanks and armored vehicles rolled over young men and women. Others were gunned down by order of the Communist rulers in Beijing.

Wang Wei-Lin was the lone demonstrator who stood up to a column of tanks from the Peoples Liberation Army. His unforgettable image was seen around the world. What the world did not see, but what Chinese democracy advocates told me ten years ago, was that Wang Wei-Lin was escorted into a nearby hotel and there strangled to death by the regimes security forces. Also summarily executed, I was informed, was the tank driver. He was killed, they say, for not running right over Wang Wei-Lin.

Last year, Chinas Communist rulers put on a brave face and invited the world to come to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Their factories had to be closed down, however, and motorists banned for weeks before the Olympic crowds arrived. That was to allow the deadly smog to clear so that the runners could be seen by the spectators and so that the archers could see their targets.

Its one thing for Communists to do vicious and shameful things. Its entirely something else for free peopleat least people who think themselves free and who, presumably, would like for their children to remain freeto honor such an odious regime. Sixty years of inhuman tyranny is nothing to celebrate.

Ive always been proud to be a New Yorker. I have an ornament of the Empire State Building on my Christmas tree every year. Not this year. Im too red-facedwith shame, shame for my city.

Treaty News

by Michael Fragoso

June 9, 2009

Recently President Obama signaled to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee his treaty ratification priorities for the 111th Congress. Not surprisingly, the Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is on the list as the lone “Human Rights” treaty Obama wants ratified. A pleasant surprise, however, is the conspicuous absence of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Both treaties are extremely pernicious and the United States should ratify neither, as Pat Fagan, Bill Saunders, and I explain here. It’s good to see that for now we only need to worry about one of them.

Hate Speech that is Destabilizing

by Family Research Council

May 24, 2009

On Friday government officials from the regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela raided the offices of Globovision, the only remaining television broadcaster in the country that openly criticizes Chavez. The pretext for the raid has something to do with the station’s news reporting on an earthquake in Venezuela in early May, which asserted that the government had been slow to report on the incident. According to press reports and comments from worried United Nations officials, Globovision stands to lose its license, which would mean the end of the last media outlet that dares to disagree with Chavez or his increasingly oligarchic powers. Interestingly, Venezuelan government officials characterized the Globovision report as “hate speech” that risked alarming the country and “destabilizing” the populace. Government’s facile use of such expressions is reason for alarm.

As The Washington Post notes this morning, Latin American caudillos are no novelty, but the silence of the United States (i.e., the Obama administration) in the face of such repression is a first. Not a first, but similarly worrisome, is the news that Nancy Pelosi, fresh from accusing the C.I.A. of lying to Congress in private briefings, is off to Beijing with nary a word prior to her trip of criticism of China’s abusive human rights practices. Time was, U.S. Democrats like former Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) were among the leaders of efforts to hold the Chinese accountable for their abuses of workers, and other Democrats spoke of Chinese denial of religious freedom and its record of forced abortion and sterilization. Pelosi instead wants to engage the oligarchs in Beijing only on climate change. But it is the climate for political freedom that is turning adverse.

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