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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

International Program

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Getulio P. Carvalho Fellowship

In 2014, GAP established the Getulio P. Carvalho Fellowship to fund a defined research project focused on whistleblowing and international issues.  Dr. Carvalho, a board member at GAP since 2013, has a distinguished record of academic research, writing and public service on inter-American affairs.  He endowed the fellowship to support the international program at GAP, which protects and defends whistleblowers in intergovernmental organizations and multinational corporations.

In 2016, GAP awarded the fellowship to Keith Henderson of the Washington College of Law at American University. Mr. Henderson is an attorney and legal scholar who specializes in whistleblower protections both at the national and international levels. During the year, he studied the protections in place for whistleblowers at the World Bank. The research is significant because, in order to receive the full annual contribution owed by the United States, the US Secretary of the Treasury must certify to the Appropriations Committees of the Congress that best-practice whistleblower protections are in place and enforced at the World Bank. Mr. Henderson’s research, based on his extensive review of documents and cases, as well as interviews with World Bank officials, concluded that the measures in place at the Bank to protect staff members from retaliation after disclosing improprieties do not meet the best-practice standard set out in US law.

In 2015, GAP awarded the fellowship to Dr. Susan Ariel Aaronsen, Research Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. Dr. Aaronsen is working with GAP and selected clients to examine the role played by whistleblowers in protecting human rights. She is constructing case studies focused on the experiences of two GAP clients who made disclosures of wrongdoing that had serious effects on the human rights of the citizens of the Central African Republic and Darfur. The study is forthcoming. 

Recent highlights of International Program Area:

  • GAP prompted the United Nations (UN) and the four largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) to adopt whistleblower protection policies. 
  • The US Institute of Peace sponsored GAP to train staff from over two dozen UN organizations and to conduct an evaluation of the grievance process in UN peacekeeping missions.
  • GAP investigated racial discrimination in hiring and retention practices at two MDBs
  • GAP revealed that Inter-American Development Bank lending has failed to reduce inequality in Latin America, especially among Afro-descendant and indigenous populations.
  • GAP exposed corrupt hiring practices by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and his lieutenants, all of whom were eventually forced out, despite unwavering support from Vice President Cheney and the White House.
  • GAP helped establish hemispheric whistleblower policies for the Organization of American States through the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, as well as guidelines for global protections for whistleblowers through the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
  • GAP has taken the lead in memorializing the first online international database of whistleblower-related information. Originally compiled by noted legal scholar Dr. Robert Vaughn, the site will be an international resource for anyone seeking data relating to whistleblowing.

GAP is currently developing whistleblower rights initiatives in:

  • Ireland
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • The Netherlands

In addition, US embassies in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Jamaica, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, Tanzania, and Ghana have all sponsored GAP visits and meetings with government and opposition leaders, NGOs, journalists, and academics. 

GAP conceived, initiated and established the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN), a worldwide coaltion of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on whistleblowing, united in the belief that increased public awareness, expert legal advice and support, sustained policy advocacy, and the development of gold-standard whistleblower laws, are possible. 

WIN members currently include:

  • Public Concern at Work (United Kingdom)
  • The Open Democracy and Advice Centre (South Africa)
  • The Whistleblowers Network (Germany)
  • The Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (Canada).

With the formation of WIN, the scope of GAP is significantly expanded beyond the Organization of American States, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Bank and  other multilateral development banks, to include intergovernmental bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G20, the European Parliament, and the European Commission.

Informed by domestic practice and democratic principles, the WIN Steering Group is composed of its five founding members and other leading NGOs who can advise on strategic development and global outreach. Advisors include the Commonwealth Initiative for Human Rights (India), Accion Ciudadana (Guatemala), and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Chile.