Albania: Coalition Helps Pass Whistleblower Law
The Institute for Democracy and Mediation, a Coalition member, successfully lobbied for the passage of Albania’s first whistleblower protection law. The law provides retaliation protection for government and company employees.
The Institute and the Coalition provided extensive comments on the draft law, improving it significantly and ensuring that many international and European standards are included in the legislation.
The Law on Whistleblowing and the Protection of Whistleblowers passed the Albanian Parliament unanimously on June 2, 2016.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Relief in Tuzla Kvarc Case
Following a one-year standoff that included suicide threats and an 18-day hunger strike, an agreement was reached with government officials on April 28, 2016 to allow Tuzla Kvarc to resume mining operations. The company was brought to its knees by an onslaught of government sanctions and vandalism after an employee exposed a mining official’s bribery scheme in 2015.
Facing increasing international attention and pressure, officials in Tuzla Canton finally agreed to reinstate the company’s mining license. A worldwide campaign, to which more than 12,000 people have responded, continues to urge Bosnian officials to drop all remaining actions against Tuzla Kvarc. Support for Tuzla Kvarc is being led by Coalition member Center for Responsible Democracy-Luna. (See: “The Price of Justice” on homepage.)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Victimized WBer Reinstated
Danko Bogdanović, a whistleblower in Bosnia’s Indirect Taxation Authority, was reinstated on 4 June 2015 after the authority’s director was threatened with a monetary fine. Bosnia’s acclaimed whistleblower protection law imposes fines on government officials who refuse to reinstate whistleblowers or fail to stop retaliating against them. Bogdanović had been fired in 2013 after revealing a large-scale bribery scheme that allowed companies to pay lower import and export taxes. He is back at work as chief of the Customs Office in Brčko.
Macedonia: Strong Whistleblower Law Becomes Reality
Macedonia’s Assembly passed a whistleblower protection law in November 2015 that, if properly enforced, would be among the strongest such laws in Europe. Originally proposed by Coalition member Transparency International Macedonia, the law includes many international and European standards, including legal protections for public and private sector employees. (See: “Macedonia passes strong whistleblower protection law” under Dispatches.)
Montenegro: Whistleblower Framework Now in Place
The Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations, a Coalition member, helped shape and advocate for a new Law on Prevention of Corruption that took effect in Montenegro on January 1, 2016. In particular, the Center helped strengthen legal protections for whistleblowers.
The law includes many best practices for protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and providing them with reporting channels, including:
- the right to retaliation protection from the Agency for Prevention of Corruption
- a wide range of offenses that may be reported
- a requirement that all companies appoint a person to receive complaints and propose corrective measures
- protections for people who assist or are connected with whistleblowers
- awards of 3-5% for whistleblowers whose disclosures contribute to the generation of public funds
- penalties ranging from €500 to €20,000 for failing to protect whistleblowers from retaliation
The Center and the Coalition are monitoring these new provisions and tracking whistleblower cases to help ensure the law is being properly enforced.