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UN official Dainius Puras
Steve Weatherbe

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UN official warns US gov’t: Don’t let Trump repeal Obamacare

Steve Weatherbe

WASHINGTON D.C., April 27, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva has advised the U.S. government that it could be violating several international treaties if it proceeds with scrapping Obamacare.

Dainius Puras, whose UN title is “special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” sent a letter to the U.S. permanent mission to the United Nations on February 2 claiming 30 million Americans would lose health insurance, requesting the government respond to its charges, and threatening to go public if it does not. This week, The Washington Post published the memo.

The UN action mirrors similar rebukes issued against Ireland and Poland for their strong strictures against abortion and characterizes what critics see as the UN bureaucracy’s interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. It has also faulted the Holy See for the sexual abusive acts of some Catholic clergy and Eastern European nations for alleged mistreatment of women.

A spokesman for a conservative think tank called the complaint “laughable if it weren’t so tragic.” David Christensen of the Family Research Council noted the UNHRC’s motions condemning Israel as evidence of its poor judgment and suggested it could take lessons from the Trump administration on human rights.

Puras’ letter claimed that “Reports estimate that if those core elements of ACA [Affordable Care Act] are repealed, even if gradually, the number of uninsured people could increase by 29.8 million by 2019, raising the total number of uninsured people in the U.S. to 58.7 million.”

The letter further asserted that the hardest hit by Obamacare’s repeal would be “those with moderate and low income, including individuals from different racial and ethnic  groups.” However, the letter cited statistics that indicate the ethnic groups especially hard hit would be whites and blacks. 

Christensen, vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, told LifeSiteNews that “the rapporteur should realize that the Affordable Care Act violated the rights of the unborn and of religious organizations such as the Little Sisters of the Poor.” As well, “it made health care insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans.” When the Trump administration replaces Obamacare with “pro-life, less costly coverage, it will provide a kind of freedom which the HRC might consider applying in its own deliberations.”

Puras also named international treaties the U.S. has agreed to, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, that he claimed oblige it “to ensure the right of access to health facilities, goods and services on a non-discriminatory basis.”  

In the customary approach of UN rapporteurs, Puras requested that the U.S. explain how it will meet this obligation should it repeal Obamacare.

Then came a threat of adverse publicity.

“I intend to publicly express my concerns in the near future as, in my view, the information upon which the press release will be based is sufficiently reliable to indicate a matter warranting immediate attention,” Puras stated. “I also believe that the wider public should be alerted to the potential implications of the above-mentioned allegations.”  

UN human rights rapporteurs often attack countries for their restrictions on abortion, according to the pro-life Center for Family and Human Rights. C-Fam issued a report earlier in the year recommending the Trump administration “rein in the UN human rights bureaucracy, particularly the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that oversees the work of the entire UN human rights system.”

According to the C-Fam report, “The secretariat has gone from facilitator … to an executive role, an initiator of policies and processes, and a guide to the development of international norms, thus usurping the role of sovereign nations. This has been the case especially with social policy, including LGBT rights and abortion.”

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