As reported in UN News Centre, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres approved an updated United Nations whistleblower policy designed to better protect whistleblowers who report misconduct or cooperate with official audits or investigations.
According to UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, the major changes include:
- The Ethics Office and Office of Internal Oversight Services can take preventive action where a risk of retaliation has been identified rather than having to identify a specific retaliatory act before requesting protection.
- Whistleblower protections will be afforded to those reporting wrongdoing committed not only by UN staff but also by UN contractors, non-UN peacekeepers and others.
- Staff will now have the right to seek review of Ethics Office determinations.
- Whistleblowers will be notified of disciplinary measures taken against staff members found to have engaged in retaliation.
Having a sound whistleblower protection program has always been a priority for Guterres and he appears eager to go even further than these reforms in his efforts to promote and protect whistleblowers. He has also tasked an internal working group — with a June 30 deadline — to examine whether the enlarged whistleblower protections should be further expanded to cover consultants and individual contractors. Until then, the Secretary-General has asked the Ethics Office to continue its practice of providing assistance to consultants and individual contractors who seek protection against retaliation.
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