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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

UPDATE: Response to UN Statement about GAP’s blog, “A Third Whistleblower Unsuccessfully Seeks Protection from Retaliation at UN/OHCHR”

Bea Edwards, February 02, 2017

The UN has objected to GAP’s account of the disclosures made by Emma Reilly at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In doing so, the UN spokesman has misrepresented:

  1. GAP’s account of the disclosure;
  2. The actions taken by OHCHR in response to the disclosure;
  3. The findings with response to the whistleblower’s appeal for relief from reprisal.

In short, the UN spokesman’s account is inaccurate, defensive and self-serving.  He did not even get GAP’s name right.

Therefore, for the record:

First, GAP is an acronym for the Government Accountability Project.  We don’t know what the Global Accountability Project is.

Second, we stand by our account of the facts.

Third, OHCHR never contacted GAP to contest any of our statements.

Fourth, GAP protects whistleblowers, and Ms. Reilly reported to numerous senior managers internally that an official at OHCHR was providing the names of Chinese dissidents to the Chinese government prior to Human Rights Council sessions where the dissidents were expected to appear. Ms. Reilly reported the practice beginning in early 2013 and continued reporting it until it stopped in 2016, because a member state objected to it. Nowhere in our post do we allege that OHCHR is responsible for the detention and subsequent death of Chinese dissident Cao Shunli. We refer to the detention and death of Cao Shunli to emphasize the potential danger of reporting the identities of dissidents to the Chinese government before they are scheduled to travel to the UN.

Fifth, since making her report about this practice, Ms. Reilly has been subjected to relentless reprisal. The Ethics Office, to which she reported the reprisal, denied her protection, but made so many errors of fact and rule that the review of her report had to be reopened.  

Sixth, the Ethics Office should review allegations of reprisal in 45 days. Ms. Reilly has now been waiting over 200 days for a definitive response from the Ethics Office. It is entirely false and improper for the Spokesman of OHCHR to say that the claims made by the whistleblower were unsubstantiated. The review has not yet been concluded, as he must know.