Governments Around the World Step Up to Support Whistleblowers in Historic UNCAC Resolution

February 13, 2024
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On Saturday 16 December, the first Resolution on the protection of whistleblowers in the UN and the first-ever proposed by the Republic of Serbia in the field of the fight against corruption was adopted at the Conference of State Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Atlanta.  Pištaljka, a non-profit journalist platform in Serbia worked with the US-based NGO, the Government Accountability Project (GAP), and members of the UNCAC Coalition drafted this Resolution. Pištaljka and GAP are both members of WIN.

The negotiations were led by Serbia, one of the two official sponsors of the Resolution. The official delegation from the Serbian Ministry of Justice included the founders and editors of Pištaljka, Dragana Matović and Vladimir Radomirović, along with the assistant to the Minister of Justice, Vladimir Vinša. The Resolution was negotiated during a five-day conference of 190 signatory states to the UN Convention against Corruption.

The Resolution establishes for the first time the rights of whistleblowers at the global level. It includes the right to compensation for retaliation suffered for blowing the whistle as, as well as the right to receive legal assistance from independent expert lawyers. It also makes it clear that individual motives are not relevant to protection for raising a genuine concern about wrongdoing.

The Resolution was officially submitted at the UNCAC meeting in Atlanta by Serbia and Palestine and was supported by the European Union, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Thailand, Mexico, Morocco, Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Namibia, Peru, Kuwait, Burkina Faso including the co-sponsorship offered Lebanon and Colombia.

The UNCAC Resolution sets a new standard internationally for governments around the world to meet.  It is a vital tool for civil society to continue to work together with their national policymakers to ensure that individuals who speak up about corruption are protected and that their disclosures are addressed.

It is a huge step in the right direction for whistleblowers and for the international whistleblower protection community!!

More about Pištaljka

Pištaljka was the driving force behind the adoption of the Serbian Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers.  The organisations helped to draft the law and have been actively working on its implementation for almost a decade. The Serbian law – evaluated by world experts as the ‘gold standard’ – informed the development of the EU Directive on the protection of whistleblowers, and now the new UNCAC Resolution.

Pištaljka was founded in 2010 by journalists-whistleblowers with the aim of investigating corruption and protecting those who reveal it. It is one of only a small number of organisations in the world which are part of the Whistleblowing International Network which provide free legal assistance to whistleblowers.  Pištaljka has so far represented more than 130 whistleblowers in court and provided more than 3,500 people with legal advice. It has also published over a thousand fully documented research texts on corruption and over 20 legal guides.

In addition to legal and journalistic activities, Pištaljka provides expert training for the Judicial Academy. This training is mandatory for all judges in Serbia and has been extended to prosecutors and persons authorized to receive whistleblowing reports, lawyers and journalists.

Vladimir Radomirović is Editor-in-Chief of Pištaljka and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Whistleblowing International Network.