WIPO’s New Whistleblower Protection Policy Does Not Provide Justice

On Friday, September 29, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released a brand-new policy to secure its whistleblowers: Office Instruction N ° 33/2017.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP), which represented 2 whistleblowers for several years at the UN firm, was dissuaded to keep in mind that the brand-new policy is ruined by the exact same deadly defect as the present practices: whistleblowers have no access to an independent evaluation of their appeals for a remedy for retaliation.

Here’s how this works. Both WIPO whistleblowers whom GAP represented supposed misbehavior on the part of the Director General (DG) of WIPO, Francis Gurry. Gurry, as DG, was the last arbiter in both their cases. He was both the accused and the judge. To name a few things, the whistleblowers declared that Gurry guided an expensive WIPO agreement to an associate. Both whistleblowers suffered severe retaliation. One left WIPO because his term ended, but WIPO put him under examination anyhow. The other resigned months before her agreement ended to take a lower-level post in another company because Gurry made it difficult for her to continue working for him. In front of witnesses, Gurry informed her that he would not restore her agreement because he considered her “disloyal.”.

One misbehavior accusation stalled for the absence of cooperation with UN detectives, but nevertheless, the private investigators had the ability to validate the procurement scams claims. Gurry, the judge in the event, chose that Gurry, the offender, had just made a supervisory error which no discipline was suitable. Gurry stays the DG at WIPO because he could manage the whole procedure.

Now the brand-new policy appears. Not just does it cannot fix this history of retaliation (and even point out pending cases), but the DG stays in control as the supreme decision-maker when a whistleblower looks for security from retaliation. The Ethics Office evaluates the cases and suggests to the DG:

If retaliation is developed, the Director-General might base on the suggestion of the Ethics Office, or on his own accord, take proper steps targeted at remedying unfavorable repercussions suffered as an outcome of the vindictive action (paragraph 28).

The brand-new policy includes a wrinkle: it supplies for a scenario in which the Director-General has a dispute of interest, as Gurry had formerly. When the DG is the topic of the misbehavior accusations, he will call somebody who works for him to choose the case.

In case the Director-General has a prospective, viewed or real dispute of interest avoiding the exercise of his/her functions under this Policy in a specific matter, she or he will recuse him/herself therefrom, and designate another proper WIPO employee to act in his/her stead (paragraph 31).

The DG plainly has the capability to influence “another proper WIPO staff member” (whom he selects) because all WIPO staff members work for him and are subject to his authority. Under the brand-new policy, if the DG has a dispute of interest, he will designate somebody else he can manage.

This sort of administrative rubbish makes people exhausted. It’s so transparently meaningless that the Staff Council of the WIPO Staff Association questioned if “such efforts were simply window-dressing to mask over severe concerns in WIPO worrying whistleblower security.”.

Well, yes, they are. The brand-new policy is created to appear to attend to the issues that took place when the DG had the ability to control the adjudication of severe offenses including him. The issue with this fake security is that it cripples the whole firm. It leaves a senior supervisor unrestrained for procurement “abnormalities” and it shows team member that they expose misbehavior at their own hazard. Nobody at WIPO has the independent authority had to secure them.

For the previous 3 years, the United States federal government has chosen not to disburse its complete yearly contribution to WIPO because whistleblower securities are insufficient there. The United States federal government values this defense because auditors and detectives report that whistleblowers are accountable for more details about scams and abuse than all other sources integrated.

In the UN system, authorities are exempt to the laws or the police of Member States. The only justice system they acknowledge is internal to the Organization. If whistleblowers can be silenced for worry of retaliation, there is no independent voice that speaks in the public interest to expose corruption and misbehavior.