UN's D'Escoto Favors Banning
Defamation of Religion, But Hasn't Seen the Resolution
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, November 11 -- On
the eve of a UN conference about the "Culture of Peace," General
Assembly President Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann was asked for his
a pending, controversial and one thought well-known resolution targeted
defamation of religion. First, Mr. d'Escoto admitted that he'd never
the resolution. Then, when nevertheless asked if he favored such a
despite freedom of expression concerns, he said "Defamation of religion
should be banned." Video here,
from Minute 35:52.
Thus, d'Escoto blithely waded into a major UN
controversy, pitting free
speech advocates against, in this case, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference. D'Escoto said that Islam and "the religion of my country"
-- Roman Catholicism -- should be respected and protected from
Nicaragua at present has a near total ban on abortion, seemingly even
of rape. Would questioning that prohibition be a defamation of religion?
Inner City Press began d'Escoto's press conference
by welcoming and
thanking him, urging him to "speak freely." Of Inner City Press'
three inter-related questions, only the first one was responded to, at
length. Video here,
from Minute 0:48.
Questions about why the
meeting with Ban
Ki-moon to which d'Escoto invited member states had been closed to the
and public, and what member states had said, were left answered. So
question about the role in the Culture of Peace conference of Ban's
Roed Larsen. D'Escoto did let drop that he himself didn't come up with
idea, that it was first raised by Ban after he met with Saudi
Roed Larsen accepts Saudi funding and often does their bidding, his
fingerprints are all over this one. But he does not disclose his
those which are a conflict.
President of the GA, words out of focus
D'Escoto said that we are all morally bankrupt, and
that there is a need
to "bail out humanity." He said that being in New York when the
financial crisis broke, he was surprised to hear greed being cited,
is a moral concept.
D'Escoto praised Obama, and even more so a group of
"heroes" who infiltrated Miami's anti-Castro groups and were
imprisoned by the U.S. for their troubles. This last had not been asked
reporter had asked about the U.S. bombings in Pakistan and Syria;
responded that "torture and jails, that will be on the tenth."
A recent and velvet-glove interview of d'Escoto that
appears in The
Nation magazine notes an ear condition he has. That perhaps explains
the disjointed answers. But not knowing about a major controversial
Assembly resolution coming down the pike is striking. His spokesman
but someone on his staff should have better prepared d'Escoto
will have more on this.
News analysis: many reporters at
the UN like d'Escoto as a good quote; some other for his politics. But
if he is
supposed to be the check and balance on Ban Ki-moon and the
Tuesday's performance was troubling. All many fronts, things must
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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