June 24, 2019 – Transparency International is one of more than 400 civil society organisations urging the G20 to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, in a joint call with trade unions from across G20 countries. The official G20 engagement groups for Civil Society (C20, or Civil 20) and Trade Unions (L20, or Labour 20) are asking the G20 leaders gathered in Osaka this week to adopt and implement High Level Principles on Whistleblowing.
“Whistleblowers have helped save countless lives and billions of dollars in public funds, but they often face severe consequences for speaking out. Protecting whistleblowers from retaliation can embolden others to come forward and increase the likelihood that wrongdoing is uncovered and prosecuted,” said Maria Emilia Berazategui, Global Advocacy Coordinator at Transparency International, and Chair of the C20 Anti-Corruption Working Group.
The joint statement recognises the advanced provisions contained in the new EU directive on whistleblower protection and the recent reform on the protection of whistleblowers in the private sector in Australia. It also notes that “while many G20 countries have adopted whistleblowing legislation, these laws often leave significant loopholes and fall short of best practice.”
G20 High Level Principles on Whistleblowing should reflect best practice in the protection of whistleblowers in both the public and private sectors, regardless of their contractual relationship, the groups said.
Specifically, the principles should:
- cover a wide range of wrongdoing and definitions of whistleblower;
- ensure the confidentiality of whistleblowers;
- guarantee the right of whistleblowers to report directly to external authorities;
- provide remedy and compensation for whistleblowers who experience negative consequences for reporting wrongdoing;
- place the burden of proof on employers to show that any detriment suffered by whistleblowers is not due to their disclosures;
- involve a wide range of stakeholders in the review and design of national laws;
- promote the creation of gender-sensitive reporting channels.
In parallel, at the Osaka summit Transparency International is urging G20 countries to effectively implement and monitor the impact of more than 60 anti-corruption resources already adopted.