La Secretaría de Transparencia de la Presidencia lanza Rally Colombia, un concurso que promueve la veeduría ciudadana
30/04/15Too often, we have seen parliaments pass whistleblower laws in haste – whether in response to scandals or disasters that whistleblowers could have prevented, or to comply with the letter (but not the spirit) of anti-corruption treaties.
Too often, we have seen parliaments pass whistleblower laws in haste – whether in response to scandals or disasters that whistleblowers could have prevented, or to comply with the letter (but not the spirit) of anti-corruption treaties. The outcome is often disappointing, and whistleblowers suffer as a result of inadequate legal protections.
An effort now underway in Colombia aims to break this pattern. Policy-makers, legal experts and civil society organisations have begun developing what would be Colombia’s first law to protect employees who report corruption and other wrongdoing from retaliation.
About 50 of them gathered in Bogota on March 23 in what was believed to be the first such meeting on whistleblowing ever held in Colombia. Hope and a vision forward were the main outcomes of the historic meeting, which featured presentations and in-depth discussions by government officials, attorneys, activists, and corporate compliance officers.
The initiative is being led by Transparency Secretary Camilo Enciso, an advisor to President Juan Manuel Santos, and Daniel Rodríguez-Bravo of the prominent Bogota law firm Rodríguez-Azuero Abogados. Rodríguez-Bravo is the Chair of the Colombian chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption Commission.
Blueprint for Free Speech is serving as an advisor to Enciso and Rodríguez-Bravo in partnership with Lexchange, a regulatory reform and anti-corruption consultancy in The Hague. Blueprint and Lexchange have developed unique resources that have supported the development of Colombia’s draft law.
Colombia’s whistleblower law has a chance to be groundbreaking. Among Latin America countries, only Peru has a dedicated whistleblower law, which only covers public employees. If it stays on its path, Colombia’s law would cover government and company employees. And it would meet key standards compiled by the Organization of American States and OECD, as well as those developed by Blueprint and the Government Accountability Project.
It is easy to put together a bland list of government agencies working on a new policy initiative. In the case of Colombia, however, this has been no empty gesture. Over the past few months, the full range of institutions have offered their ideas and suggestions to the whistleblower law: the Ministries of Labor and Justice, the Superintendents of Corporations and Industry, the National Protection Unit, Witness Protection Program, Attorney General, Inspector General, Comptroller General and the Public Service Department. The input has been productive and thoughtful.
The project is funded by the EU’s Eurosocial program and managed by the CEDDET Foundation, which is a member of Eurosocial’s implementing consortium.
This has been a truly collaborative effort can serve as a model for other countries considering new whistleblower frameworks. Such joint efforts have succeeded in many other countries in recent years, including Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Ireland, Jamaica, Serbia and Slovakia.
Blueprint is honored to be working with Colombian officials, legal experts and NGOs. A draft law to protect whistleblowers is beginning to take shape, and we look forward to helping the law reach Congress. It won’t necessarily be easy. But no victory worth winning ever is.