RAI Secretariat speaks about whistleblower protection at the international conference “Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Corruption Prevention” in Budapest

The Regional Anti-corruption Initiative Secretariat (RAI) was invited to speak about whistleblower protection at the international conference “Theoretical and practical aspects of corruption prevention” that marked the International Anti-corruption Day” in Budapest, Hungary on December 7.

The conference was organized by the Department on Prevention of Corruption of the National Protective Service of the Government of Hungary, under the EU funded Project ‘Anti-corruption Training with special focus on International Bribery’. Ms. Elmerina Ahmetaj Hrelja introduced RAI’s regional experience in building effective whistleblowing systems through improved laws, capacity building and public information and education on whistleblowing and whistleblower rights.

Among other things, Ms. Ahmetaj Hrelja presented RAI deliverables under the regional EU funded project ‘Breaking the Silence: Enhancing Whistleblowing Policies and Culture in the Western Balkans and Moldova’ (2020 – 2023), such as Gap Analysis of Whistleblower Protection Laws in the Western Balkans and Moldova, Model Provisions for Whistleblower Protection Laws, Whistleblowing On-line Tools, Guerrilla Campaign and Social Experiment, which are some of the good practice examples on how to support the process of building effective whistleblowing systems, presented at the conference.  These good practice examples could be replicated or serve as inspiration for such similar activities in other countries seeking to build effective whistleblowing systems.

Ms. Elmerina Ahmetaj Hrelja emphasized that to avoid the victimization of a whistleblower it is of utmost importance to build an organizational/institutional culture of openness, transparency, integrity and accountability. Such culture is created and maintained through the leadership/management commitment to: encourage people to come forward early with reports of wrongdoing; put clear reporting procedures into place (based on good laws, in line with international standards); and follow-up diligently – investigate, provide support and protection to whistleblower, provide feedback and address the wrongdoing.  Finally, it is important to secure relevant resources for an effective whistleblowing system (financial and human resources, IT solutions, training etc.), identify lessons learnt and translate them into improved policy, procedures and practices.

Other speakers of the conference included representatives of ministries of interior and law enforcement agencies of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia.