State Department gives no mention of whistleblowers to UN

Last April, I submitted a report to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.S. State Department about how U.S. law fails to give whistleblowers customary remedies for their retaliation claims. My report listed the international treaties that required the United States to protect whistleblowers. It listed specific cases in which whistleblowers’ rights had been denied, including one case, Bradley Birkenfeld, in which the whistleblower was currently imprisoned. It also decried the pitiful state of the law when it comes to protecting federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse. I called on the State Department to answer to the United Nations for this failure to give whistleblowers the same rights that victims of auto accidents have.

Last month, the State Department issued its report to the United Nations under its Universal Periodic Review (UPR). That report makes no mention of whistleblower rights. It does not even include the word, “transparency.” I called on the State Department to answer how the limits on political asylum (such as requiring applications to be filed in English within one year of entry to the US) comported with the duty to provide asylum to international whistleblowers seeking refuge here. No mention of that either. The UPR process provides for direct questioning of U.S. representatives in November. Perhaps those representatives will face questions about how whistleblowers here get less rights that other victims of wrongful conduct, and why the U.S. has not passed laws to assure whistleblowers our customary rights and remedies.

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