Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media -e.g. Somalia, Nepal, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia  For further info, click here to contact us         .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

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

UNITED 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 views on a pending, controversial and one thought well-known resolution targeted at the defamation of religion. First, Mr. d'Escoto admitted that he'd never heard of the resolution. Then, when nevertheless asked if he favored such a resolution 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 defamation. Nicaragua at present has a near total ban on abortion, seemingly even in cases 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 great 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 press and public, and what member states had said, were left answered. So too a question about the role in the Culture of Peace conference of Ban's envoy Terje Roed Larsen. D'Escoto did let drop that he himself didn't come up with the idea, that it was first raised by Ban after he met with Saudi officials. Since Roed Larsen accepts Saudi funding and often does their bidding, his fingerprints are all over this one. But he does not disclose his finances, even 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, since that is a moral concept.

  D'Escoto praised Obama, and even more so a group of Cuban "heroes" who infiltrated Miami's anti-Castro groups and were imprisoned by the U.S. for their troubles. This last had not been asked for. A reporter had asked about the U.S. bombings in Pakistan and Syria; d'Escoto 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 some of the disjointed answers. But not knowing about a major controversial General Assembly resolution coming down the pike is striking. His spokesman works hard, but someone on his staff should have better prepared d'Escoto Brockmanm. We 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 Secretariat, Tuesday's performance was troubling. All many fronts, things must improve at the UN.

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.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -