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At UN, Union Demands Investigation of Deadly Ambulance Delay, Departure of UN Security Chief

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- While the UN Administration refuses to provide answers about its delay of ambulance responding to the fatal stroke of UN staff member Jesmel Navoa on March 5 in the Organization's basement printing plant, Thursday the UN Staff Union adopted a resolution relating Mr. Navoa's death to the management of the UN Department of Safety and Security.

  In a closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon, union Unit leaders decried that David Veness, the DSS chief who ostensibly resigned more than a year ago after the deadly bombing of the UN in Algiers, remains in place, adding to "uncertainty." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was called to do more to ensure safety, including access by emergency services.

  Concerned rank and file security staff intend to meet with Ban's Deputy Asha Rose Migiro following Veness' refusal to implement a previous Staff Union resolution which called for an independent, external investigation of promotion and placement irregularities they said was documented by a leaked internal e-mail published by Inner City Press on February 6. Migiro will be asked to start the investigation.  At Thursday's Staff Union meeting, the call was for an investigation of the circumstances of Mr. Navoa's death by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Staff members linked the death of Mr. Navoa to one a year ago on the journalist's floor for of the UN, also reported on by Inner City Press, here.

Senior UN official in basement printing plant, ambulance access not shown

  On the evening of March 5, Mr. Navoa had a stroke in the printing plant in the UN's third sub-basement. According to his colleagues present on the scene, there was a near hour-long delay in an ambulance being let it. The next day, Mr. Navoa died in the hospital. Inner City Press ran an exclusive report and then on March 9 asked UN Deputy Spokesman Marie Okabe

Inner City Press: Thursday of last week...there was a death that took place in the building in the third subbasement and they have expressed concern that the ambulance wasn’t allowed in for an hour.  I am wondering if you’re aware of that and what is the protocol for that?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I am not aware of that, but I will look into that and we will get you something.

   Ten days later, no information has been provided. Now questioning is expanding. When will answers be provided? Watch this site.

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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