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Note: An Annual Comprehensive Review, as required by §7 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, is conducted each year on committee data entered for the previous fiscal year (referred to as the reporting year). The data for the reporting year is not considered verified until this review is complete and the data is moved to history for an agency/department. See the Data From Previous Years section at the bottom of this page for the committee’s historical, verified data.

DOS - 84576 - Department of State Commission on Unalienable Rights - Agency Authority


Committee NameDepartment of State Commission on Unalienable RightsAgency NameDepartment of State
Fiscal Year2020Committee Number84576
Original Establishment Date7/8/2019Committee StatusChartered
Actual Termination Date Committee URL
New Committee This FYNoPresidential Appointments*No
Terminated This FY Max Number of Members*No more than fifteen
Current Charter Date7/8/2019Designated Fed Officer Position Title*Designated Federal Officer
Date Of Renewal Charter7/8/2021Designated Federal Officer PrefixMr.
Projected Termination Date1/14/2021Designated Federal Officer First Name*Duncan
Exempt From Renewal*NoDesignated Federal Officer Middle NameH.
Specific Termination AuthorityMemorandum of TerminationDesignated Federal Officer Last Name*Walker
Establishment Authority*Agency AuthorityDesignated Federal Officer Suffix
Specific Establishment Authority*22 U.S.C 2656Designated Federal Officer Phone*(202) 647-3490
Effective Date Of Authority*7/8/2019Designated Federal Officer Fax*(202) 647-3267
Exempt From EO 13875 Discretionary CmteNot ApplicableDesignated Federal Officer Email*
Committee Type*Continuing
Committee Function*National Policy Issue Advisory Board


Agency Recommendation*Continue
Legislation to Terminate RequiredNo
Legislation StatusNot Applicable
How does cmte accomplish its purpose?*The Commission provided the Secretary of State informed advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters through the drafting and issuance of a Report. The Commission provided fresh thinking about human rights and proposed reforms of human rights discourse where it had departed from our nation’s founding principles and the internationalization of those principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Commission consulted with other interested experts, advisors, parties, agencies, and interagency committees and groups of the United States Government, foreign governments, and with national and international private sector organizations and individuals, as the Department of State and the Commission decided were necessary or desirable.
How is membership balanced?*The Commission was comprised of no more than fifteen members with distinguished backgrounds in international law, human rights, and religious liberties. The membership was a bi-partisan, diverse group of men and women.

To ensure that Commission members offered advice and recommendations which are in the best interests of the U.S. Government, the majority, if not all of them were appointed as Special Government Employees. As such, they were required to submit financial disclosure forms to flag any conflicts of interest.

The members were proposed for membership from one of the following categories:

(1) Legal scholars.
(2) Other academics and leaders of non-profit, non-governmental research institutions.
(3) Former U.S. Government officials (including former judges).
(4) Leaders of non-governmental, philanthropic organizations.
How frequent & relevant are cmte mtgs?*The Committee met once a month, starting in October 2019 through February 2020, and then in July 2020. These meetings allowed presentations from expert witnesses representing diverse viewpoints as well as comments and questions from the public in attendance. They were vital to the intellectual integrity of the Commission.
Why advice can't be obtained elsewhere?*The Commission itself obtained advice from expert witnesses and from the public. Because it was not bound by specific policy considerations, it was allowed to operate at the level of principle.
Why close or partially close meetings?NA
Recommendation RemarksCost for Travel reflects business meeting that took place in October 23, 2019; November 1, 2019; December 11, 2019; January 10, 2020; February 21, 2020; and July 16, 2020.


Outcome Improvement To Health Or Safety*NoAction Reorganize Priorities*Yes
Outcome Trust In GovernmentYesAction Reallocate ResourcesNo
Outcome Major Policy ChangesNoAction Issued New RegulationsNo
Outcome Advance In Scientific ResearchNoAction Proposed LegislationNo
Outcome Effective Grant MakingNoAction Approved Grants Or Other PaymentsNo
Outcome Improved Service DeliveryNoAction OtherYes
Outcome Increased Customer SatisfactionNoAction CommentThe Report of the Commission issued findings on the sources the U.S. and global human rights traditions as they relate to U.S. foreign policy. The Commission's findings addressed major principles underlying U.S. human rights policies. These principles may or may not be used by policy makers in the form of fresh thinking and additional context.
Outcome Implement Laws/Reg RequirementsNoGrants Review*No
Outcome OtherYesNumber Of Grants Reviewed 
Outcome CommentThe Report of the Commission issued findings on the sources the U.S. and global human rights traditions as they relate to U.S. foreign policy. The Commission's findings addressed major principles underlying U.S. human rights policies. These principles may or may not be used by policy makers in the form of fresh thinking and additional context.Number Of Grants Recommended 
Cost Savings*NoneDollar Value Of Grants Recommended 
Cost Savings CommentN/AGrants Review CommentN/A
Number Of Recommendations*0Access Contact Designated Fed. Officer*Yes
Number Of Recommendations CommentThe Report of the Commission did not make specific policy recommendations. Divided into five sections, the Report ended with twelve "concluding observations":
1. It is urgent to champion human rights in foreign policy.
2. The power of example is enormous.
3. Human rights are universal and indivisible.
4. The universality and indivisibility of human rights do not mean uniformity in bringing them to life.
5. A degree of pluralism in respecting human rights does not imply cultural relativism.
6. Nation-states have some leeway to base their human rights policy on their own distinctive national traditions.
7. Although human rights are interdependent and indivisible, certain distinctions among them are inherent in the Universal Declaration itself, as well as in the positive law of human rights that follows from the UDHR.
8. Freedom, democracy, and human rights are indissolubly linked.
9. Social and economic rights are essential to a comprehensive foreign policy.
10. New claims of rights must be carefully considered.
11. National sovereignty is vital to securing human rights.
12. The seedbeds of human rights must be cultivated.
Access Agency WebsiteYes
% of Recs Fully Implemented* Access Committee WebsiteYes
% of Recs Fully Implemented CommentN/AAccess GSA FACA WebsiteYes
% of Recs Partially Implemented* Access PublicationsYes
% of Recs Partially Implemented CommentN/AAccess OtherNo
Agency Feedback*Not ApplicableAccess CommentN/A
Agency Feedback Comment*N/ANarrative Description*The Commission met six times in FY2020: October 23, 2019, November 1, 2019, December 11, 2019, January 10, 2020, and February 21, 2020. An meeting, scheduled for for March 26, 2020, was listed in the Federal Register Notice but cancelled due to COVID19 lockdown. The Commission met a final time July 16, 2020 in Philadelphia.
Hide Section - COSTS


Payments to Non-Federal Members*$0.00Est Payments to Non-Fed Members Next FY*$0.00
Payments to Federal Members*$5,000.00Est. Payments to Fed Members Next FY*$1,666.00
Payments to Federal Staff*$25,000.00Estimated Payments to Federal Staff*$8,333.00
Payments to Consultants*$0.00Est. Payments to Consultants Next FY*$0.00
Travel Reimb. For Non-Federal Members*$64,011.05Est Travel Reimb Non-Fed Members nextFY*$5,000.00
Travel Reimb. For Federal Members*$0.00Est Travel Reimb For Fed Members*$10,000.00
Travel Reimb. For Federal Staff*$0.00Est. Travel Reimb to Fed Staff Next FY*$5,000.00
Travel Reimb. For Consultants*$0.00Est Travel Reimb to Consultants Next FY*$0.00
Other Costs Est. Other Costs Next FY*$0.00
Total Costs$94,011.05Est. Total Next FY*$29,999.00
Federal Staff Support (FTE)*0.30Est. Fed Staff Support Next FY*0.30
Cost RemarksTravel reimbursement figures represent commission member travel to Washington, DC for five meetings and to Philadelphia for one, as well as hotels and per diem. There was no travel reimbursement for the Federal Member, who traveled in another person's POV to Philadelphia. Payments to federal member and federal staff reflect estimated percentage of total work load devoted to work on the Commission by one federal member and three federal staff.Est Cost RemarksPayments to federal members and federal staff prorated to 33% of FY2020 numbers to reflect four months between start of FY2021 and end of January 2021. Travel reimbursement was for trips by federal member to Budapest, Paris, London, and Jakarta and by federal staff and non-federal member to Jakarta.
Hide Section - Interest Areas

Interest Areas

Federal Government
International Law


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Data from Previous Years

ActionCommittee System IDCommittee NameFiscal Year
 COM-036332Department of State Commission on Unalienable Rights2019