any private individual can be whistleblower?

I feel this deserves a small, albeit separate post from the previous one, as it is a forgotten cornerstone in whistleblowing. Any person can be a whistleblower.

People, and sometimes laws, argue a whistleblower is exclusively an employee who during his work is confronted with wrongdoing on the job.

This is not the case, any private individual can be a whistleblower, and should be protected as such. For the definition of what a whistleblower is I refer to the previous post.

This will get technical, but remember one thing. Anyone with information about wrongdoing, regardless of how it was acquired, should be protected.

the United Nations Convention Against Corruption

For the courageous I recommend reading the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

The United Nations (UN) recognises whistleblowers are more then just employees:

There may also be others who are close to the individuals involved in the corruption, but are not involved themselves. A few may witness the actual act of corruption. Others may spot the methods that were used to bypass systems and procedures or to redirect funds or benefits away from the intended purpose or recipients, or they may see the harm caused.

The UN finds no one should be excluded from being considered for protection:

In principle, States parties are encouraged to consider closing any gaps in legislation or practice that could unnecessarily deter persons from reporting to competent authorities or would exclude them from being considered for protection.

Now comes the cherry on the cake:

In jurisdictions that use the term “whistleblower” in relation to workplace-related reporting and protection, lawmakers should be aware of two aspects: first, they should consider including a wide range of persons from the public and private sectors (e.g. employees, contractors, consultants, trainees, volunteers, workers in informal economy sectors and other insiders); and second, they should consider the need to provide protection for other reporting persons who would fall neither under the scope of the workplace-related whistleblower protection nor under witness protection. This would include persons who report information that is not sufficiently detailed as to constitute evidence in criminal proceedings, but still related to alleged corruption.

It goes on expliciting:

Members of the general public are more likely to make reports about harm or damage caused to them personally or that affects their communities.

The UN Convention Against Corruption defines corruption non limitatively as:

Many different forms of corruption, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, and various acts of corruption in the private sector.

Articles 15 to 28 lists, non limitatively, various forms of corruption.

Its article 32 states:

Take appropriate measures to provide effective protection from potential retaliation or intimidation for witnesses, experts and victims insofar as they are witnesses who give testimony concerning corruption offences and, as appropriate, for their relatives and other persons close to them.

Its article 33 states:

Consider measures to provide protection against any unjustified treatment for any person who reports in good faith and on reasonable grounds to the competent authorities any facts concerning corruption offences.

And I could go on pointing how Switzerland violates the UN rules and guidelines. To what point? Switzerland in all its superiority and arrogance finds itself above and better then, untouchable by, the UN. It stated in a Swiss federal report on the matter in 2013 that:

La Suisse a ratifié cette convention le 24 septembre 2009. Un premier examen de l’application de la convention par la Suisse a été effectué le 18 juin 2012. La Suisse a indiqué ... les problèmes qui peuvent se poser en rapport avec l’obligation de fidélité mais conclut à la conformité du droit suisse avec la convention, vu le caractère facultatif de l’art. 33

This I translate as I find it is a fine example of how Switzerland violates international obligations. Switzerland ratified the UN convention. But, because Switzerland considers the convention optional (!) it finds its persecution of whistleblowers is in agreement with the UN (!)

What splendid argument, it renders Switzerland knowingly, premeditated and deliberately, liable to elements not interpretable as “optional”, such as but not limited to article 34 listed above, or 29 to 32 for that matter.

So when it comes to Switzerland's intent to its international obligations: LET'S PERSECUTE THE LIVING DAYLIGHT OUT OF WHISTLEBLOWERS !

That is exactly what dictator states are made of.

This blog is all about how Switzerland does the exact opposite of what the UN demands. So you may understand why I call Switzerland, as protector of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first and prime violator of human rights.

What is the UN doing with its 9000 employee strong base in Switzerland?

whistleblower protection in Europe

Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law could without in-depth lecture be interpreted as in violation with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as with the European Convention on Human Rights, in that it would appear discriminative against any non work related whistleblowing.

However, the directive clearly states a number of arguments opening to whistleblowing for all persons, including private persons, as long as the reporting is not related to personal differences between co-workers.

The title of the directive is non disciminative and all inclusive:

the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law

Point 32 extends protection to more then just the work related environment:

Similarly, reporting persons should be entitled to protection under this Directive if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the information reported falls within its scope. The motives of the reporting persons in reporting should be irrelevant in deciding whether they should receive protection.

Point 37 concludes that:

Effective enforcement of Union law requires that protection should be granted to the broadest possible range of categories of persons, who, irrespective of whether they are Union citizens or third-country nationals, by virtue of their work-related activities, irrespective of the nature of those activities and of whether they are paid or not, have privileged access to information on breaches that it would be in the public interest to report and who may suffer retaliation if they report them. Member States should ensure that the need for protection is determined by reference to all the relevant circumstances and not merely by reference to the nature of the relationship, so as to cover the whole range of persons connected in a broad sense to the organisation where the breach has occurred.

Point 39 opens to more then “workers”:

Protection should also extend to categories of natural persons, who, whilst not being ‘workers’ within the meaning of Article 45(1) TFEU, can play a key role in exposing breaches of Union law and may find themselves in a position of economic vulnerability in the context of their work-related activities.

Points 19 and 20 are technical, but they basically extend the rules of the whistleblower directive to other EU directives, which may explicitly list other categories of persons. Such as but not limited to non discrimination on the basis of work, social status, victims, etc. Here, the notion of exclusive protection for “workers” is canceled in favor of “any person”.

The only exclusion is listed in point 22, and it is not a firm exclusion, only an opportunity to exclude if so chosen.

Member States could decide to provide that reports concerning interpersonal grievances exclusively affecting the reporting person, namely grievances about interpersonal conflicts between the reporting person and another worker, can be channelled to other procedures.

Under article 15, public disclosure, no provisions are made for work related contexts. Any person is due for protection.

A person who makes a public disclosure shall qualify for protection under this Directive ...

Article 24 excludes a limitation on the basis of:

form or condition of employment

Finally, under article 3.1 whistleblower protection is acknowledged in cases:

Where specific rules on the reporting of breaches are provided for in the sector-specific Union acts listed in Part II of the Annex, those rules shall apply. The provisions of this Directive shall be applicable to the extent that a matter is not mandatorily regulated in those sector-specific Union acts.

So, providing the Council of Europe executionary conventions such as the Convention of Istanbul, the Convention of Brussels II Bis, the Convention of Lanzarote, the conventions of ... this whistleblower is entitled to all whistleblowing protections of the Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law.

Oh, Switzerland, the highest regarded nation in terms of human rights, has not ratified the whistleblower convention. And whilst it has ratified the other conventions which list obligation of protective measures, well, Switzerland persecutes those whistleblowing it's blatant violations.

why it is only natural other persons are included

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides against discrimination. Excluding any individuals from the whistleblowing definition based on their professional status or involvement is therefore a fundamental human rights violation.

Idem for the European Convention of Human Rights, also expliciting against discrimination, and here work or non work related contexts are discriminating factors.

In addition, it is well documented over time that the most prominent whistleblower cases are those brought to public attention by private individuals.

Even popular movies have been made on the subject, highlighting how ordinary citizens blow the whistle, and suffer retaliation. A fine example is Erin Brockovich. Or how recent can it be? No later then this week in the purported pentagon leaks private individuals disclose information.

My and the United Nation's and even the European (albeit clumsily) conclusion is simple: any person reporting wrongdoing should be protected.

Tags: #Rights #Whistleblower

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