The CNCDH calls for strengthening the protection of whistleblowers in France

In an opinion of September 24, 2020, the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) calls on the French government to take up the transposition of the European directive for the protection of whistleblowers to strengthen the protection system put in place. in place by the Sapin II law.

France has until the end of 2021 to transpose the directive into national law.

"In France also whistleblowers can be the target of threats, intimidation, reprisals," recalls Jean-Marie Burguburu, president of the CNCDH. These women and men play an essential role in enhancing transparency and democratic accountability. Guaranteeing them effective protection must be a top priority. "

Extend and further protect whistleblowers in Europe
Faced with inequalities in the protection of whistleblowers within the European Union, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted on October 7, 2019 a directive on the protection of persons who report violations of human rights law. 'Union. This directive aims to introduce minimum guarantees of protection into the legislation of the Member States. In particular, it simplifies the procedure for reporting facts that contravene European Union law by abolishing the obligation to report to the hierarchical superior and by strengthening the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower.

Guarantee effective protection of the whistleblower
The CNCDH calls on the government to transpose the European directive to a maximum in order to guarantee effective protection for people who report offenses or, more generally, serious threats to the general interest.

In France, the protection regime for whistleblowers provided for by the Sapin II law adopted in 2016 does not effectively guarantee their protection against attempts at intimidation, harassment or reprisals, thus dissuading potential whistleblowers. to report rights violations. The CNCDH underlined the limits of this regime in its opinion on the Sapin II bill. The establishment of the mechanisms necessary for optimal and effective protection of whistleblowers would create the conditions to promote the fight against impunity for serious attacks on the general interest.

Thus, beyond the requirements provided for by the directive, the CNCDH recommends extending the protection system to legal persons and to the "facilitator" who provides assistance to the whistleblower, and to entrust a single independent public authority with the responsibility to inform, advise and provide support and financial assistance. Moreover, the CNCDH recommends not to limit the protection of whistleblowers for crimes against Union law but also to crimes under national and international law and threats to the general interest.

Finally, for their fight in favor of freedom, the CNCDH recommends allowing whistleblowers of foreign nationality to access the right of asylum.

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Virginie Gastine Menou

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