In a letter obtained by Global Americans dated February 13, 2019, five former United States members of and nominees to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission)—including 2017 Trump administration nominee Douglass Cassel—urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to withdraw U.S. funding from the Commission.
The extraordinary action comes as the State Department considers withdrawing funding from the IACHR in the wake of a letter from nine Republican U.S. Senators who claim the U.S. should withdraw funding because the Commission lobbies “for abortion in Latin America in direct contravention of U.S. law.”
In the letter, the five former members and nominees debunk the Senators’ claim as “a misreading of the Siljander Amendment,” offering a three-pronged legal reading of why the Commission does not violate U.S. law. More importantly, they point out that the withdrawal of U.S. funding would “severely impair the capacity of the Commission to carry out its historical and continuing mission to defend democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout the Western Hemisphere.”
The letter was signed by:
- Tom Farer – President (1980-1982) and Member of the Commission (1976-1983);
- Robert Goldman – President (1999-2000) and Member of the Commission (1996-2003);
- Dinah Shelton – President (2011-2012) and Member of the Commission (2010-2013);
- James Cavallaro – President (2016-2017) and Member of the Commission (2014-2017); and
- Douglass Cassel – U.S. nominee to the Commission (2017)
Click here to read the full letter.