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Human Rights in America

You know, spending a lot of time dredging through the public record on torture is a rather depleting exercise. So it’s a glass of lemonade in a desert to read the Obama administration’s human rights pledges issued by the State Department today. The administration announced last month that it would seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council — ostensibly to reform it from the inside — and in support of its bid, it had to prepare a list of “commitments and pledges” for human rights. You can read them here, but there’s some stuff worth excerpting:

As part of our commitment to the principle of universality of human rights, the United States commits to working with our international partners in the spirit of openness, consultation, and respect and reaffirms that expressions of concern about the human rights situation in any country, our own included, are appropriate matters for international discussion. [...]

The United States commits to continuing to promote freedom of religion for individuals of all beliefs, particularly members of minority and vulnerable religious groups, through dedicated outreach, advocacy, training and programmatic efforts. [...]

The United States is committed to meeting its UN treaty obligations and participating in a meaningful dialogue with treaty body members.

Only the first excerpt comes close to indicating anything about torture, and that’s really really really a Mr.-Fantastic-caliber stretch, so whatever. In any case, I look forward to reading about how Obama’s just sold out American sovereignty and how he’s just put us on par with Libya and Sudan and such and how the freedom of religion pledge is a clever way to reveal his hatred of Israel.

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