Protection of Whistleblowers
How to protect whistleblowers?
The Council of Europe has developed a legal instrument on protecting individuals who report or disclose information on acts and omissions in the workplace that represent a serious threat or harm to the public interest (‘whistleblowers’).
At its 1198th meeting (30 April 2014), the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 on the protection of whistleblowers prepared by the European Committee on Legal Co-operating (CDCJ) of the Council of Europe, and took note of its Explanatory Memorandum. The CDCJ promotes and supports the implementation of this recommendation that sets out a series of principles to guide member States when reviewing their national laws or when introducing legislation and regulations or making amendments that are necessary and appropriate in the context of their legal system.
In 2021-2022, the CDCJ carried out an evaluation on the impact of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the protection of whistleblowers.
The report analyses whistleblower protection frameworks in Council of Europe member states since the adoption of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 and identifies good practices and positive developments. It also reviews the evolving jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and provides a comparative analysis with European Union Standards, notably Directive (EU) 2019/1937. Moreover, the report identifies areas for reform and proposes steps to strengthen whistleblower protection laws and European standards.
Relevant legal instruments and tools
- Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173)
- Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 174)
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)9 to member States on Fostering a culture of ethics in the teaching profession
- Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on public ethics (2020).
- Parliamentary Assembly - Improving the protection of whistle-blowers all over Europe - Report (Doc. 14958) | Resolution 2300 (2019) | Recommendation 2162 (2019) | Reply of the Committee of Ministers to Recommendation (Doc. 15099)
- Parliamentary Assembly - Improving the protection of whistle-blowers - Report (Doc. 13791) | Resolution 2060 (2015) | Recommendation 2073 (2015) |Reply of the Committee of Ministers to Recommendation (Doc. 13949)
- Parliamentary Assembly - The protection of "whistle-blowers" - Report (Doc. 12006) | Resolution 1729 (2010) | Recommendation 1916 (2010) | Reply of the Committee of Ministers to Recommendation (Doc. 12479)
- Congress of Local and Regional Authorities – “The protection of whistleblowers: Challenges and opportunities for local and regional government.” – Report CG36(2019)14 |Recommendation 435 (2019) | Reply of the Committee of Ministers |Resolution 444 (2019)
- Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) - Fifth Evaluation Round
- Monitoring Group of the Anti-doping Convention (T-DO) - Recommendation on the Protection of Whistleblowers in the Context of the Fight Against Doping in Sport
- Comité directeur pour les droits de l’homme - Guide de bonnes et prometteuses pratiques sur la manière de concilier la liberté d'expression avec d'autres droits et libertés, notamment dans les sociétés culturellement diverses (2019) – see §§ 361-373.
- Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law