Harper's Writer Reports on UNESCO's "Pay-to-Play" Culture

Harper's Writer Reports on UNESCO's "Pay-to-Play" Culture

Ken Silverstein | January 6, 2009
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Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper’s magazine, exposes the irony of UNESCO naming a prize after Equatorial Guinea’s dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in his article "Pay-To-Play at UNESCO". The International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was funded by Obiang with $3 million dollars. Silverstein points out the dire situation of Equatorial Guinea’s people despite booming oil revenues.

"Is there a slimier United Nations department then UNESCO? In 2006, UNESCO awarded Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov with a medal for preserving Uzbekistan’s cultural heritage. Human Rights Watch said that UNESCO’s decision to honor Karimov was “a bad joke,” “absolutely scandalous,” and “incomprehensible in the face of his government’s serious violations of human rights.” Those violations include the death of one prisoner who was tortured, among other ways by having boiling water poured over his body.

A few years before that, Angola named an international arms dealer, Pierre Falcone, as its ambassador to UNESCO, which allowed him to claim diplomatic immunity and avoid prosecution (until recently) in France.

Now I see that UNESCO has established the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which is named for the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, who funded the award to the tune of $3 million..."

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