Conservatives have despised the 1975 Helsinki Accords for decades. When it was being negotiated, one source reports,
Throughout much of the negotiations, U.S. leaders were disengaged and uninterested with the process. In an August 1974 conversation between President Ford and his National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Dr. Kissinger commented on the CSCE that "we never wanted it but we went along with the Europeans ... [i]t is meaningless—it is just a grandstand play to the left. We are going along with it.Now of them, from North Carolina, Senator Thom Tillis, has been named a United States Commissioner to the Helsinki Commission by Vice President Mike Pence.
Tillis' office says,
Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced he has been selected as a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.
The Helsinki Commission, an independent government agency that is comprised of members of Congress and Administration officials, has a mandate to monitor the acts of the 56 other signatories of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This includes the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms like the freedom of thought, religion and the press. The Commission also focuses on economic, humanitarian, and security cooperation between the United States and other signatories.
The Helsinki Commission will hold its first hearing of the 115th Congress tomorrow at 9:30am, which will focus on democracy and human rights abuses in Russia.
“It’s an honor to serve on the Helsinki Commission, an important component to strengthening America’s cooperation with Europe and promoting international peace and stability,” said Senator Tillis. “Throughout its history, the Helsinki Commission has been a valuable platform that has shined light on human rights violations, human trafficking, and terrorist threats. Moving forward, I look forward to working with other commissioners to focus on a number of critical issues, starting with Russia’s slide back to authoritarianism and its increasing hostility against its neighbors.”Tillis owes his Senate election in 2014 to NRA money and antigay prejudice- as Speaker of the NC House, he led the campaign to make North Carolina the last state to ban marriage equality in its constitution even as he told an audience it would be overturned in twenty years (it took less than two).
Tillis is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Personnel.
During his tenure in the Senate, Tillis has worked to expand America’s role in combatting human rights violations across the globe. In 2016, Tillis joined Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce the bipartisan Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act. Co-sponsored by 13 other Senators, this bipartisan legislation aims to ensure that the U.S. government works in a coordinated manner using its full range of tools, including diplomatic, political, financial, and intelligence capabilities, to provide early warnings about at-risk communities and states in order to help prevent mass atrocities against civilians.
Once in the Senate, he washed his hands of his dirty work (even as he denounced as overreach federal law requiring restaurant workers to wash theirs after using the restroom).
He will find his self-praised passion for human rights stretched by the Commission's work for gender equality and LGBT rights. While he has recently condemned the ongoing extrajudicial imprisonment, torture, and execution of gay men in Chechnya-
- Tillis is a devoted fanboy for all of President* Trump's sweeping anti-LGBT initiatives. Like ostentatiously devout churchgoers who always give to overseas missions but scorn their poor neighbors as layabouts and grifters, Tillis finds it easy to condemn things happening where he has no influence compared to taking action at home, where he does.(1/2) #Chechnya officials are kidnapping and torturing gay men. I condemn this gross violation of #HumanRights. https://t.co/6dAddJwh2J— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) April 17, 2017
The Commission has a long record of LGBT advocacy. It will be interesting to see how much, or little, lip service he pays.